Thomas Tuchel read the riot act to his bumbling Chelsea players after a sleepless night fuelled by chocolate that saw him get angrier and angrier. The Blues manager was left fuming by his team’s limp performance against Real Madrid on Wednesday that saw their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread after a 3-1 defeat – and that had followed a 4-1 home thumping by Brentford.
Tuchel hauled his Chelsea players over the coals on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s key game at Southampton and revealed: “To stay angry overnight is unusual. Sometimes I’m angry during a match or at half-time. After a game I normally decide not to speak too much if I’m not happy.
“But the feeling lasted. I watched the match again and got angry at home in the middle of the night, and the next morning I watched it again – and got angry again. I was not THAT angry – the dog was safe. But the amount of chocolate I needed to go through the match again was immense.
“At some point you have to stop and take a walk into the kitchen and calm down. I got some sleep, but late. It was not a discussion meeting. I gave my point of view – behind closed doors, where everybody can take criticism.
“We don’t point fingers. But we were not at our best level. That’s why we were angry. For me it is best to express it and not hide, be honest with the team. It is necessary that the players can handle it if the manager is angry.”
Tuchel has admitted that Chelsea face an immense task in the second leg against Real next Tuesday. But they go into the Saints game only five points ahead of Tottenham in fourth place and the Chelsea boss said: “I am absolutely confident we will make the top four, but it is never a given.”
Tuchel admitted he wants the contract situations of N’Golo Kante and Jorginho, who will both have a year left on their deals this summer, sorted out. He already faces losing Andreas Christensen to Barcelona at the end of this campaign with his deal running out – and the futures of Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta are uncertain.
The German said: “Nobody wants that. With important players, it’s a wish as a coach that we solve this in the summer.”