Thomas Tuchel has reiterated that believing Chelsea are still in the Premier League title chase is “stupid,” owing to the number of Covid cases and injuries sustained by his side.
The Blues were held to a 1-1 draw by Brighton in the Premier League on Wednesday, losing both Reece James and Andreas Christensen to injury, leaving them with just two wins in their previous five league games.
Manchester City, their title rivals, have made no similar mistakes, winning each of their last ten matches. Pep Guardiola’s team now lead the Blues by eight points heading into the new year.
Tuchel dismissed assertions that Chelsea are still in the title race following the Brighton encounter.
When asked if their chances of winning the race were over, the German said to BBC Sport: “How should we be in [the race]?”
“We have seven Covid cases. We have five or six players out for six or more weeks. How should we compete in a title race?
“Everyone else who has a full squad, everybody in training has the full power to come through this league.
“We would be stupid to think we can do it out of Covid and injuries. Just play and everybody would be stupid to do it without 23 fit players.”
Tuchel has been critical of the Premier League’s handling of the recent spike in Covid-19 cases, accusing them of failing to prioritise player safety.
He stopped short of adding to these comments post-match, instead saying: “This is the reality, this is where we are and we have to adapt to the demands of the situation which you are in.
“I competed very hard for the win at Brighton at home. I don’t know what I can expect from my players in terms of physicality, intensity or minutes.
“Nobody knows any more because we have never done something like this. We play trial and error and see what we can do.”