Thomas Tuchel has said he is “awfully impatient” and does not want to be given time to turn Chelsea into title contenders. Their hopes of catching Manchester City this season are all but over and they are in danger of being dragged into another top-four battle before hosting Tottenham on Sunday.
Chelsea have won four of their past 13 league games and Spurs, who have four in hand on their London rivals, will close the gap to five points if they win at Stamford Bridge.
The pressure on Tuchel has increased, though history shows that Chelsea’s problems are not solely down to him. They have not challenged for the title since winning it under Antonio Conte in 2017 and have become more effective in cup competitions.
They face Liverpool in the final of the Carabao Cup next month and Tuchel, who has been in the job for a year, won the Champions League four months after replacing Frank Lampard last season.
That success seemed to suggest that Chelsea were ready to overtake City, the beaten Champions League finalists, but it is interesting to note that Lampard said Chelsea were not ready to challenge for the title this time last year. Little has changed since then.
The European champions lack continuity because of their cycle of hiring and firing managers, although Tuchel does not want to use that as an excuse. The German struck a defiant tone when he was asked if it is going to be a slow process for Chelsea, who have not built their squad as smoothly as City and Liverpool.
“Maybe, but we will never accept it,” Tuchel said. “Even myself, I will always fight against it. I never said it and even if I can see the reason behind it, that we need time, time, time, we don’t have time and I don’t want to wait.
“I am awfully impatient and this is part of what drives me and part of what brings me to a great opportunity – to be part of a club like Chelsea.
“I think we are competitive. I think we know what it takes and we have what it takes to challenge for the title.”
Tuchel, who was in an irritable mood when Chelsea drew 1-1 at Brighton on Tuesday, suggested injuries, a draining fixture list and Covid absentees have been key to his side’s slump. “We could not influence the circumstances and we struggled there. I could feel on Tuesday the disappointment from the players, also from me, that we are in the stage where we are right at this moment.
“But it does not help. We still are obliged and it is our duty to have full commitment – by full I mean 100% – to what we do and to what we believe and to how we do things. The rest will take care of itself.
“I love the team, I love all the players and I love the club. It’s on us to bring out the very best in ourselves. Where this is over the last weeks, it depends on the circumstances. But we will always try.
”He was not surprised Harry Kane’s form is returning. Kane was excellent at Leicester on Wednesday, scoring once before setting up Steven Bergwijn’s last-minute winner and the striker will be eager to impress after struggling when Spurs lost their Carabao Cup semi-final to Chelsea this month.
“I remember when there were a lot of critics for Harry Kane at the beginning of the season,” Tuchel said. “But in the end, he is what he is. He’s a goalscorer. I assume he did this for his whole life and all his career. If you are a scorer at this level you must have been scoring goals from six years old.”