Thomas Tuchel has issued a blunt warning to his players after Chelsea were beaten for the second game in a row, losing 3-1 to Real Madrid in the Champions League.
The German boss almost admitted defeat in the quarter-finals after a performance he called ‘one of the worst’ in his tenure, warning the Blues they will be ‘hammered’ in the second leg in Spain if they are not improving. .
Carlo Ancelotti said Karim Benzema was ‘aging like fine wine’ as the French striker’s stunning hat-trick gave Real full control halfway through their Round of 16.
Tuchel was deflated and angry after the full-time whistle, and took responsibility for a tactical setup that allowed Benzema and Vinicius Junior to terrorize Andreas Christensen down Chelsea’s right flank.
But it was another dismal performance from the reigning European champions, who were beaten 4-1 at home by Brentford in the Premier League at the weekend – having now dropped seven goals in their last two matches.
Speaking to the press after the match, Tuchel was in a candid mood as he said: “It’s a heavy loss. It was one of the worst first halves I have seen here at Stamford Bridge.
“At this level you can’t play like that individually and as a team. Of all of us, it was by far not enough. We weren’t doing what we used to do, we were far from our standards , and when that happens, you lose matches.
When asked if Chelsea can turn things around when they face Real Madrid in Spain, Tuchel replied: “No, we don’t need to go to Madrid. [next]we have to go to Southampton, yeah?
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“I think it’s very important to deal with this first, absolutely crucial that we go to Southampton first and I’m going to make sure everyone deals with this because it’s absolutely important.
“Because if we keep playing like this we will lose at Southampton, and we don’t need to think about the Bernabeu, we will be hammered at the Bernabeu.”
Asked if the draw is still valid despite the defeat, Tuchel replied: “No. Not at the moment, no.
“Because we have to get back to our level, I don’t know where it is since the international break, but the first half is a repeat of the second half against Brentford, in the quarter-final against Real Madrid.
“We were so far from our level in everything the game demands. We have to prepare things for Saturday at Southampton and we can’t think about the Bernabeu today.
“We face Southampton on Saturday and if we keep playing like this we won’t get a point. I’m more worried about Southampton on Saturday than Real Madrid on Tuesday. If we don’t straighten our heads and our legs and our mentality , we will not win. And then this tie is not alive.
“If things change, maybe, but how many clubs in world football could do what we need, three goals difference? How often does this happen?
“Let’s be honest, we know we are competitive and we need to find our competitive quality and then we can talk.
“I think personally there was enough where we could hurt them, but we were so far from our level of everything the game requires, tactically, form, stiffness, in the challenges.
“It’s on all of us, I’m included in that. Individually we lost form and sharpness in the national break.
“I don’t really have an explanation because we fell from being very, very competitive.
“For the situation on the flank with Christensen, it was my mistake. Moreover, in five days, it’s seven goals conceded.
“I don’t think there’s a deeper reason for it. But it is alarming because in two matches seven goals. But nothing has changed. »
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