Chelsea players during their draw with Brighton

Chelsea players during their draw with Brighton

Time off is the only antidote to Chelsea’s ongoing malaise, according to Thomas Tuchel. 

The Blues were held to a 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday, extending their winless streak in the Premier League to four matches – their worst such run under Tuchel. 

Chelsea have won just one of their past seven top-flight matches and sit 12 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, who have a game in hand. 

The meeting with Brighton was Chelsea’s 15th game in all competitions since the start of December and Tuchel believes the only way they can get back on track for a prolonged period is through rest. 

“We look tired. And we are. It’s like this,” Tuchel told BT Sport after Adam Webster’s header cancelled out Hakim Ziyech’s opener. 

“We knew they were well prepared, they had more time to prepare and you saw at the end the stadium celebrates like a victory. That’s what you face. 

“We need our full strength to overcome these obstacles. In these moments there’s no blame for the team. We tried everything. We are mentally and physically tired. We need some days off, there’s no other solution. 

“We have two days off then we have two days to prepare the match against Tottenham. There’s no other solution.” 

Tuchel was critical of Ziyech after the 1-0 loss to City at the weekend and the former Ajax winger did not celebrate his first-half goal. He was also regularly engaged in heated conversations with Romelu Lukaku. 

The Chelsea boss was unbothered by either of those aspects, though.

“I am happy. [Ziyech] can score 20 more and not celebrate, I have no problem,” said Tuchel. 

“It’s normal that they talk. It’s normal they’re not happy and they don’t like it if we say we want more from them. In the reaction to the goal, you can see we are tired because we are saving energy even there.” 

Brighton boss Graham Potter said: “We’re really pleased and proud of the performance, definitely. We gave Chelsea a good game. Our performance was full of everything. 

“It’s not easy because they have some top players but the courage of our defenders… The boys played on the front foot as much as they could. They scored from not much, but it was a performance I really enjoyed. 

“We were well in the game and the boys could feel it was a good performance. Chelsea don’t give much away, so you have to work for everything. We could maybe test the goalkeeper more, but I thought we had everything.”