Thomas Tuchel tells Chelsea not to get superstitious over home form troubles

The Blues have slumped to ninth in the home-form standings after seven wins, five draws and three league losses.

By Press Association Published: 22 April 2022 - 1.44pm

Thomas Tuchel has told his Chelsea players not to let superstition cloud their bid to boost their ailing home form.

Chelsea slipped to a third-straight home defeat in all competitions for the first time since 1993 with Wednesday’s 4-2 Stamford Bridge loss to Arsenal.

The Blues have slumped to ninth in the home-form standings after seven wins, five draws and three league losses.

Chelsea remain on course for a third-place Premier League finish though, with Tuchel’s men second in the away-day rankings thanks to 11 wins, three draws and just two defeats on their travels.

The Blues host West Ham in another London derby on Sunday, with Tuchel admitting a fragility in his side’s home performances – but also warning against an overreaction.

Asked if now is the time to restore Stamford Bridge’s fortress factor, Tuchel replied: “Obviously, I didn’t know those numbers but it’s obvious that we are behind and that’s very unusual, and it’s very unusual also for me in my experience not only here but over the last years.

“It’s unusual and I don’t know what it is, if it was just the one thing, we would switch dressing rooms or take another hotel or something like this. But that would may be more superstition than anything else.

“I have no solution but it’s also not the level that we want to produce in home games. It’s a bit fragile at the moment I have to say, it was against Brentford and against Real Madrid.

“It was straight away better in the next three games. And then we had a good start to the Arsenal match actually; I was very happy with the energy and the quality.

“Don't get superstitious now, and don't believe in things that maybe are not there. But it is another challenge on top of the others”
- Thomas Tuchel on Chelsea's home form

“But then you have the feeling of ‘oh no, not again’, and once you have this feeling it’s hard to get rid of it.

“Sometimes it’s not even a problem tactically or of shape, or sometimes it’s due to pure quality that you have to accept sometimes from the opponent.

“But it can be very hard to separate, whether this was our mistake, was it not enough or was it simply very difficult to defend this chance. And it can happen that a feeling creeps in that you don’t want to have.

“Normally you want to feel in a home game that you can feel still capable of coming back no matter what happens. But now it’s a bit different but very hard to argue, because it seems obvious we’ve had a row of three home games with very similar results that we absolutely don’t like.

“And it’s now the job to convince the players to keep on going, the supporters to keep on pushing and to hang in positive, because we have a lot to build on, we have a lot to rely on and also to trust.

Chelsea v Crystal Palace – Emirates FA Cup – Semi Final – Wembley Stadium
Mateo Kovacic, centre, has an ankle issue (John Walton/PA)

“So don’t get superstitious now, and don’t believe in things that maybe are not there. But it is another challenge on top of the others.”

Mateo Kovacic will miss Sunday’s clash with ankle ligament trouble, with Toni Rudiger also ruled out through a groin issue.

Eddie Nketiah’s double, a neat Emile Smith Rowe finish and a late Bukayo Saka penalty undid Chelsea against the Gunners in midweek.

Timo Werner and Cesar Azpilicueta were on target as Chelsea twice equalised in the first half, but Andreas Christensen’s under-hit back-pass to gift Nketiah the opener lingered long after the game had finished.

Tuchel criticised the state of the Stamford Bridge pitch straight after the Arsenal loss, and on Friday admitted Chelsea are still looking into the standard of their home surface.

Andreas Christensen holds off an opponent
Andreas Christensen, left, made a mistake for Arsenal’s first goal on Wednesday (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

Asked for the specific issue with the pitch, Tuchel replied: “I don’t know, I’m not a specialist on it and we’re looking into highest level in every department and I know everybody is trying hard.

“I said it because the first goal was from Andreas but it was because of a funny bounce of the ball and we had more of them in the game.

“It was awkward to play and calculate the speed and bounce of the ball. So it’s like this, that was it, but I know everybody’s working hard in every department to provide the best level. And so we try and keep on going.

“We were struggling a bit with the timing of the renewal (of the turf) this season, then this leads to a bit of the problem. The pitch wasn’t where it should and could be at the beginning of the season.

“We felt it and saw it at away matches. This was a funny bounce given to the quality of the pitch at this moment, and it cost us.”

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