Thomas Tuchel has said he cannot guarantee Chelsea will be ready for their first Premier League game of the season in less than two weeks, and that they need more signings to become competitive.
Chelsea were thrashed 4-0 by Arsenal in Orlando on Saturday in the final match of their pre-season tour to the US, with Gabriel Jesus, Martin Ødegaard, Bukayo Saka and Albert Sambi Lokonga all scoring for Mikel Arteta’s side. Kalidou Koulibaly – the Senegal defender signed from Napoli for £33.8m– made his first appearance for the club as a second-half substitute, while Chelsea have also brought in Raheem Sterling from Manchester City this summer.
But asked afterwards whether his squad was in desperate need of reinforcements before they face Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, Tuchel admitted they are still short.
“I am far from relaxed,” he said. “We were simply not good enough. We were simply not competitive. I look at the last season and parts of the game where we struggled, parts of the season where we struggled, and then we got sanctioned and players left us and some players are trying to leave us, and this is where it is. So we had an urgent appeal for quality players, a huge amount of quality players. We got two quality players but we are not competitive like this. Unfortunately you could see it today.”
The new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly was in the crowd at Camping World Stadium and saw his side ripped apart by their London rivals as Arsenal took a 3-0 lead midway through the second half. Tuchel described the 31-year-old Koulibaly as “the best player on the pitch for us” after he came on in the 71st minute, although the German questioned his team’s mentality.
“The worrying part is that the level of commitment physically and mentally for this match was far higher for Arsenal than for us,” Tuchel said.
“They played I think what is their strongest lineup and structure that you see now for several weeks. This was the lineup they will try to start for Premier League games. It was surely not our strongest lineup. This is a part of an explanation but only a little part and the other part is worrying. I cannot guarantee we will be ready in two weeks.”
After beating the Mexican side Club America 2-1 and losing on penalties to Major League Soccer side Charlotte FC, Chelsea will play one more friendly against Udinese on Friday to complete their pre-season schedule. The France defender Jules Koundé is expected to become their third summer signing after agreeing a fee of £55m for the 23-year-old.
Yet Tuchel was dismissive when it was suggested that his side may be able to compete with Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title this season.
“Given our last two weeks, our game today, we should not mention the two teams in front of us. We got absolutely beaten by a team that does not play Champions League football next season and finished behind us. But at the moment, they seem far ahead of us.”
July 24, 2022 at 07:36PM Ed Aarons