Thomas Tuchel: ‘Stupid’ to think Chelsea can win title with Covid and persistent injury issues

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Thomas Tuchel: ‘Stupid’ to think Chelsea can win title with Covid and persistent injury issues
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Thomas Tuchel says it would be “stupid” to think that Chelsea can compete for the Premier League title in their current situation.

Though now above Liverpool into second ahead of a key weekend showdown, the Blues are eight points off the pace after Danny Welbeck cancelled out Romelu Lukaku’s first-half header with a stoppage-time equaliser for Brighton at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

That result was compounded by City’s 10th successive win against Brentford in the evening’s late kick-off, sealed by an early effort from England playmaker Phil Foden.

Chelsea’s alarming mid-season slump - from which they gained brief respite with the Boxing Day win at Aston Villa and Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat of Brentford - has come in the wake of non-stop injury problems and Covid issues that have limited manager Tuchel’s options.

The German watched defenders Reece James and Andreas Christensen get added to his ever-lengthening injury list in the first half against Brighton.

Assessing Chelsea’s title challenge after another late sucker punch, Tuchel added: “How should we be in it? We have seven Covid cases, we have five or six players out for six or more weeks.

“How should we compete in a title race? Everyone else who has a full squad, everybody in training has the full power to come through this league. We would be stupid to think we can do it out of Covid and injuries. Just play and everybody would be stupid to do it without 23 fit players.

“This is the reality, this is where we are and we have to adapt to the demands of the situation which you are in.

“This is what I am saying. I competed very hard for the win at Brighton at home. I don’t know what I can expect from my players in terms of physicality, intensity or minutes.

“Nobody knows anymore because we have never done something like this. We play trial and error and see what I can do. I will protect my team. We can play better but we need the full squad over weeks and weeks.”

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