Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel accepted blame for tactics and team selection after losing 4-2 at home to Arsenal on Wednesday evening, but proceeded to point out difficulties with the Stamford Bridge pitch during his post-match press duties. Blues defender Andreas Christensen was excused for his individual error which led to the Gunners’ opening goal as Tuchel pointed out that the same pitch imperfections had hurt them before.
Chelsea and Arsenal played out a breathless encounter in which Eddie Nketiah rewarded Mikel Arteta’s faith with an impressive brace at Stamford Bridge. The youngster was joined on the scoresheet by Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka, with Timo Werner and Cesar Azpilicueta’s first-half goals proving to be in vain.
After the final whistle, Tuchel was regretful about his team’s individual mistakes. Andreas Christensen clumsily gave the ball away for Nketiah’s opener, but the boss also pointed out unusual issues with the home pitch. “We need to have the tactics right, it’s doubtful if I had this right, and you need the team selection right, it’s doubtful I got that right,” he admitted.
“To say the pitch is difficult to play here, it maybe sounds like an excuse but it is a very, very difficult pitch that we have here. It’s not in our favour. The ball bounces very awkwardly in front of Andreas when he wants to play this ball. But still, we had the same mistake against Real Madrid that cost us the next round of the Champions League and this one cost us the next match.”
“We had a good start but again gave the first goal away which is impossible to do these things in consecutive matches,” he added, “But we’re doing it. We came back twice and we scored another two in the second half, unfortunately for the wrong side.
“It’s a level of mistakes, the number of mistakes in consecutive games here at home, it’s impossible at this kind of level. You don’t see this. It’s simply impossible But we’re doing this at the moment and you cannot win football games like this.”