Thomas Tuchel reserves judgment on Chelsea season until Premier League conclusion
Kostas Tsimikas’ ruthless spot-kick sealed a 6-5 FA Cup triumph for the Reds, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Mason Mount out for Chelsea.
The Blues suffered even more misery on penalties, following the 11-10 Carabao Cup final loss to Jurgen Klopp’s men in February.
Chelsea host Leicester and Watford next week to close out their Premier League season, with the Blues yet to equal third place.
Tuchel has given the Chelsea squad two days off to recuperate – and refocus before the crucial end to a trying campaign.
Asked to judge Chelsea’s season, Tuchel replied: “It very much depends on what we do in the next two games and where we end up.
“So I will give my honest opinion.
“We have reached back-to-back domestic finals and the FA Cup final two years in a row.
“I will never promise any victories there, but we will always give our contribution, our heart, our passion, our commitment, and we will always do everything possible not to have any regrets. So we will not stop doing it. .
“It will be difficult to get the players back now, more difficult after the defeat, but not impossible.
“And maybe the best way to do that is to be honest, we now have two days off and we have to prepare.
“The season is not over, because we have goals to achieve in the Premier League.
“Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s good, but that’s the way it is.
“Life goes on and it will go on no later than next Thursday, and you’re in the middle of things at Stamford Bridge.
“We still have things to play for but it will be a bit more difficult than coming back there with a trophy and the confidence of a big win.”
Timo Werner remained an unused substitute on the bench amid Chelsea’s frustrating defeat, but Tuchel later revealed the German had suffered a hamstring problem during the warm-up.
Kai Havertz had also failed a last-minute fitness test on a hamstring pinch, leaving the Blues shy of forward line options.
Substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek was substituted at the end of extra time with penalties looming, with Tuchel confirming the midfielder was uninjured – instead pulled off in favor of superior acumen Ross Barkley.
“Kai didn’t train yesterday with hamstring issues,” Tuchel explained.
“He thought if he trained he would get injured. We tried everything and even did a final test on the morning of the game but it didn’t work.
“Timo felt uncomfortable during the warm-up and said he couldn’t play, with a hamstring problem as well.
“With fewer options today, it was clear that we were going to suffer at times.
“Everyone is in pain, there is no way to escape this game without pain.
“Mateo Kovacic even played with an ankle that I didn’t even think could fit in a shoe.
“Ruben hasn’t been injured, he doesn’t have a good history statistically on penalties, and Ross (a), so that was the decision.”
Additional PA Reports