Comment: Why Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea Tiredness Claims Were Justified Following Spurs Win
Thomas Tuchel has been frustrated by the fatigue and tiredness his Chelsea side have picked up in recent weeks which had coincided with their drop in form.
Over the Christmas and New Year period, Tuchel saw his squad heavily disrupted through Covid-19 and injury problems which left the Blues boss having to shift players around and make tactical changes to utilise the squad at his disposal as best as he could.
Despite asking for their fixture against Wolves, which ended in a goalless draw in December, to be called off due to Covid and injury problems, Chelsea's request was denied by the Premier League.
"We applied to not play and put the situation under control and it was rejected. It is very hard to understand it, we are concerned about the health of the players," said Tuchel back in December.
"We end up with players who play coming from injuries and we take the risk."
Chelsea and Tuchel were left annoyed. They and Manchester City are the only two sides not to have had a game called off this season.
Tuchel's men powered through but at what cost? They went four league games without a win, drawing to Brighton twice, being held by Liverpool and losing to Manchester City.
Prior to Chelsea getting back on track against Spurs, a trip to the south coast last Tuesday against Brighton put Tuchel's claims of tiredness and fatigue affecting their results on the table. It wasn't an excuse, it was a fact.
Hakim Ziyech's strike from distance was met with muted celebrations by the Chelsea camp. A sign of frustration and annoyance of how their mood, performances and results have slipped in recent weeks.
Chelsea ended up drawing the game as Adam Webster's second half header extended Tuchel's side's run to four league games without a win.
From Saturday's defeat at Man City to Tuesday's draw against Brighton, there was no rest despite Tuchel asking for the game to be pushed back a day to the Wednesday night.
“Very hard to understand," replied Tuchel to the Premier League's decision to hold the game a day earlier on the Tuesday.
“It has nothing to do with (match vs Manchester) City. Three away games in a row, both Brighton and we have our next game on Sunday so there was no need to put it on a Tuesday. (One day more) would have (made a difference). Brighton played on Friday so makes a huge difference for them also."
Their performance at the Amex Stadium was a night to forget. It was poor, extremely poor. Errors in every single department which reflected the 'mentally and physically' tired state of the squad.
Tuchel knew there were reasons for the drop in form, which was down to fatigue, despite performances not being up to scratch on a basic level, as criticism and pressure continued to increase on the European champions.
"We are tired, mentally and physically. You can see it in our performance. It's as easy as that," reflected Tuchel on the draw against Graham Potter's side last week.
Chelsea needed a day off, or two, something they had craved for to get some energy back into the legs of the tired squad.
"So, so badly," continued Tuchel on how much his side needed rest and recovery time. "You can use the excuse but it is like this.
"Look at the schedule, when we arrived at Man City we had a Carabao Cup match and we arrive here and they had more time to prepare.
"We have played since November; we play and play and play. We need to recharge the batteries and disconnect. This is my feeling.
"We will use Friday and Saturday to prepare for Sunday against Tottenham."
Two days off on the Wednesday and Thursday came as a luxury for the Blues as they looked to put a stop to their winless league run.
Chelsea's much-needed break was just one game away after Brighton. The stop was in sight. But they had to overcome one final fixture, a London derby against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Did the rest pay off and prove Tuchel's claims of tiredness and fatigue right? Yes, yes it did.
Chelsea returned to Cobham on Friday with a good attitude, mentality and spirit, and the freshness in the minds and legs of the players was evident to see on Sunday afternoon as Spurs visited west London.
Tuchel's side were quick out of the traps and could've had a handful of goals in the opening minutes of the London derby. But they kept going, despite Spurs weathering the early storm, and Ziyech was on hand to bag another stunner, this time into the top corner two minutes into the second half.
Muted celebrations against Brighton instead were met with a smile and relief from the players, manager and fans inside Stamford Bridge. Tired? No. Energised? Yes.
Thiago Silva added another eight minutes later to claim a 2-0 victory for the Blues which saw Tuchel be less frustrated and animated on the touchline like he was at the Amex, but a manager who motivated and encouraged his players.
Tuchel was in high spirits at full-time when he addressed the media to reflect on the 'outstanding' performance of his side.
"We were working extremely hard for it and it was a tough match. The effort was outstanding and it was a deserved win. It is so hard to create chances against them but we were relentless and kept on believing."
Chelsea will now have another week off to recover before beginning preparations for their FA Cup fourth round clash against Plymouth Argyle on February 5 ahead of their flight to the United Arab Emirates for the Club World Cup.
Morale is up. Energy levels are on the up. Chelsea are back to winning ways.
"Very important for morale - we go into a mini break, it changes everything, the mood, the belief," added the German.
Chelsea may have not been at the races and were deservedly criticised for their drop in standards, but any argument of that not being affected by tiredness and fatigue can now be discarded.