Thomas Tuchel has insisted Chelsea could be “silly” to assume they’ll compete for the Premier League title with their Covid-19 and injury-ravaged squad.
Danny Welbeck’s added-time header surprised the embattled Blues to steal Brighton a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Romelu Lukaku’s early header ensured Chelsea leapfrogged Liverpool into second place, however the Blues solely lead Jurgen Klopp’s males by one level with the Reds boasting a recreation in hand.
Reece James suffered a nasty-looking hamstring harm and Andreas Christensen a again downside to elongate Chelsea’s listing of absentees, with seven gamers nonetheless out because of Covid isolation.
Chelsea have now slipped to 4 attracts of their final 5 dwelling league matches, to drop eight factors behind leaders Manchester Metropolis.
Requested if the Blues can nonetheless compete for the title, Tuchel replied: “How ought to we be in it? We’ve seven Covid instances. We’ve 5 or 6 gamers out for six or extra weeks. How ought to we compete in a title race?
“Everybody else who has a full squad, all people in coaching has the total energy to come back by means of this league.
“We’d be silly to assume we will do it out of Covid and accidents and simply play, and all people could be silly to do it with out 23 match gamers.”
Requested if the Premier League’s integrity has been misplaced by means of the differing Covid profiles of every crew, Tuchel continued: “That is the fact, that is the place we’re and now we have to adapt to the calls for of the scenario which you’re in.
“I competed very exhausting for the win at Brighton at dwelling. I don’t know what I can count on from my gamers by way of physicality, depth or minutes. No person is aware of any extra as a result of now we have by no means finished one thing like this. We play trial and error and see what we will do.
“I’ll defend my crew. We are able to play higher however we want the total squad over weeks and weeks. It’s a hamstring harm for Reece James which is a big blow, and a again harm for Andreas Christensen.”
Chelsea might now be caught within the grip of a defensive harm glut forward of Sunday’s pivotal conflict with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
James and Christensen will seemingly miss out, with Thiago Silva nonetheless uncertain because of a thigh downside and Ben Chilwell out for the season because of knee surgical procedure.
A fuming Tuchel additionally hit out at referee Mike Dean for denying Chelsea a “100 per cent penalty” and likewise a attainable purpose for Mason Mount.
Tuchel felt Christian Pulisic was undoubtedly fouled within the field with out censure for Brighton within the second half, whereas Mount rolled the ball into the empty internet solely to see play introduced again for a foul.
“We’ve a 100 per cent penalty towards Christian Pulisic, a 50-50 problem from Mason Mount proper earlier than their equaliser,” stated Tuchel.
“Why does he even must whistle earlier than the ball is over the road? We’ve VAR to examine. Is he so positive or does he need to preserve the stress up? And the penalty, it’s a joke, actually it’s a joke to not intervene from VAR.”
Brighton proved full worth for his or her draw amid a madcap encounter, with ex-Arsenal striker Welbeck popping up with the leveller with simply his seventh contact having climbed off the bench.
“I believed it was a incredible efficiency from the gamers, filled with braveness, high quality and towards aspect in fact,” stated Brighton boss Graham Potter.
“To return right here and be ourselves was a giant problem. So credit score to the gamers they have been incredible tonight.”
Requested if Chelsea ought to have had a penalty for the foul on Pulisic, Potter added: “I’d should see it again, stay I didn’t assume it was. I suppose that’s why they’ve obtained VAR.
“If it was 100 per cent I believe it might be given, I didn’t assume it was on the time however I used to be fairly a method away to be trustworthy.”