Thomas Tuchel has insisted Chelsea could be “silly” to suppose they will 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 sport in hand.
Reece James suffered a nasty-looking hamstring harm and Andreas Christensen a again drawback to elongate Chelsea’s listing of absentees, with seven gamers nonetheless out as a result of Covid isolation.
Chelsea have now slipped to 4 attracts of their final 5 house 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 have now seven Covid circumstances. We have now 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, everyone in coaching has the total energy to return by this league.
“We’d be silly to suppose we will do it out of Covid and accidents and simply play, and everyone could be silly to do it with out 23 match gamers.”
Requested if the Premier League’s integrity has been misplaced by the differing Covid profiles of every staff, Tuchel continued: “That is the truth, that is the place we’re and we’ve got to adapt to the calls for of the state of affairs which you might be in.
“I competed very onerous for the win at Brighton at house. I don’t know what I can anticipate from my gamers when it comes to physicality, depth or minutes. No one is aware of any extra as a result of we’ve got by no means accomplished one thing like this. We play trial and error and see what we will do.
“I’ll defend my staff. 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 large 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 doubtless miss out, with Thiago Silva nonetheless uncertain as a result of a thigh drawback and Ben Chilwell out for the season as a result 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 potential aim for Mason Mount.
Tuchel felt Christian Pulisic was positively 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 have now 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 have to whistle earlier than the ball is over the road? We have now VAR to test. Is he so certain or does he wish to maintain 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 assumed it was a unbelievable efficiency from the gamers, stuffed with braveness, high quality and towards a great facet in fact,” stated Brighton boss Graham Potter.
“To return right here and be ourselves was an enormous problem. So credit score to the gamers they have been unbelievable tonight.”
Requested if Chelsea ought to have had a penalty for the foul on Pulisic, Potter added: “I’d need to see it again, reside I didn’t suppose it was. I suppose that’s why they’ve obtained VAR.
“If it was 100 per cent I feel it will be given, I didn’t suppose it was on the time however I used to be fairly a means away to be trustworthy.”