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‘I was clearly not happy’ – Blindsided Tuchel admits Super League distraction vs Brighton as Chelsea falter

The Blues were uninspiring on the pitch after being hounded by questions about the recently announced competition

Thomas Tuchel has admitted the barrage of Super League questions he received leading up to Chelsea’s scoreless draw against Brighton left him “clearly not happy”.

The Blues had signalled their intention to join the controversial new competition over the weekend, but Tuchel said he was given late notice about the move. In the build-up to Tuesday’s Brighton match, the manager tried to remain neutral about the tournament in an effort cool emotions, however the topic was too big for him to evade. Tuchel’s men then appeared flat on the pitch, perhaps with the fierce backlash from fans toward the Super League front of mind, as they “tried to create an atmosphere to win the game but could not”.

Late Tuesday night, Chelsea reversed course and announced they would back out of the Super League.

What has been said?

“I was clearly not happy, nobody was and that can happen even if we had the best preparation,” Tuchel acknowledged to BBC Sport.

“The situation was not clear. I was informed like you were informed. … You didn’t ask me about the match at all beforehand. You prepare a match, but it is strange that nobody is talking about it.

“It was not our best game – the opponents defended well and we weren’t in the same rhythm. Maybe we were tired and a bit distracted, maybe a combination and it wasn’t our best performance.” 

Tuchel expanded on those thoughts in a separate interview with Sky Sports.

“I was affected so I think the players were affected,” the manager said. “We talk of nothing else but Super League before the match. Nobody asked about the match before. It is like this. You have to accept the distraction. We tried to create an atmosphere to win the game but could not.

“We were sloppy when we did win the ball. We were not precise enough. We have to accept that we did not deserve [to win].

“We made big mistakes, looked tired, mentally tired. We did not deserve to win maybe for the first time since I arrived here.”

Tuchel’s previous remarks

Tuchel had given tepid support to the Super League on Monday, saying it was not his place to critique Chelsea ownership.

“I want to play these club competitions, I trust the club to make the right decisions and it’s too early to judge everything and it’s not my part,” he told reporters.

Chelsea leave Super League

By Tuesday night, however, the mood on the Super League had soured enough for the Blues to back out along with every other English side that had been involved.

But the damage done by Chelsea’s draw with Brighton – which kept them level on points with fifth-place West Ham – cannot be reversed.

Chelsea’s statement

The club released the following statement late via their official website Tuesday night:

“As reported earlier this evening, Chelsea Football Club can confirm that it has begun the formal procedures for withdrawal from the group developing plans for a European Super League.

“Having joined the group late last week, we have now had time to consider the matter fully and have decided that our continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the Club, our supporters or the wider football community.”

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