Tuchel 'worrying' after Chelsea suffer another pre-season setback with defeat to Arsenal

Blues lose 4-0 to Premier League rivals in Florida and the manager is concerned about his team's progress ahead of the new season

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel admitted he is "worrying" about his squad's preparedness for the new season after the Blues were thrashed 4-0 by Premier League rivals Arsenal in a friendly match on Saturday.

Goals from Gabriel Jesus, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, and Albert Sambi Lokonga guided the Gunners to a convincing victory at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, and condemned Chelsea to their second defeat on their United States tour following the penalty shootout loss to Charlotte FC.

Tuchel could not hide his frustrations from the touchline and was seen shouting at his players, who were repeatedly exposed by Arsenal's nimble counter-attacking.

"I am far from relaxed," Tuchel told reporters. "We deserved to lose, which is fair enough because we were simply not good enough. We were simply not competitive.

"The worrying part is that the level of commitment physically and mentally for this match was far higher for Arsenal than for us. They played I think what is their strongest line-up and structure that you see now for several weeks.

"This was the line-up they will try to start for Premier League games. It was surely not our strongest line-up. This is a part of an explanation but only a little part and the other part is worrying."

Chelsea have endured a tumultuous few months following the sanctioning of previous owner Roman Abramovich, which placed the club under various restrictions including bans on offering new contracts and signing new players.

As a result, key first team players Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen both left Chelsea on free transfers while it meant the club, once the new owners were in place, were left playing catch-up in the transfer market.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is concerned his team will not be ready for the start of the new Premier League season. AFP

Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly have been signed from Manchester City and Napoli respectively to boost Chelsea's attacking and defensive options, but Tuchel insisted more signings are needed and expressed the importance of the Blues having a settled squad in time for the new season.

"I cannot guarantee we will be ready in two weeks," the German said. "My analysing of the season does not change because of this game. Unfortunately, it proved my point. The last week proves my point. I would absolutely prefer not to be right. I did everything to prove myself wrong but at the moment I feel that I was right.

"I look at the last season and parts of the game where we struggled, parts of the season where we struggled, and then we got sanctioned and players left us and some players are trying to leave us, and this is where it is.

Kalidou Koulibaly made his first Chelsea appearance and impressed Thomas Tuchel. AP

"So we had an urgent appeal for quality players, a huge amount of quality players. We got two quality players but we are not competitive like this. Unfortunately you could see it today."

The one major positive from Chelsea's defeat to Arsenal was the cameo of Senegalese defender Koulibaly, who came off the bench for the final 20 minutes and impressed his manager.

"He was the best player," Tuchel said. "He was incredibly good I have to say."

Chelsea now head to Italy for their final pre-season match against Udinese on Friday, before opening their new Premier League campaign against Everton on Saturday, August 6.

In contrast, Arsenal are enjoying an encouraging pre-season and have registered only comfortable victories so far, with previous wins over Nurnberg, Everton, and Orlando City.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is pleased with his team's progress but insisted fans should not get 'carried away'. Reuters

Arsenal's squad is also taking shape following five new arrivals, including forward Gabriel Jesus and versatile Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City, leading to increasing optimism surrounding the club.

Gunners manager Mikel Arteta said he understands why fans are getting excited ahead of the new season but warned that there is still much work ahead.

"As you could see there are a lot of positives to take from the game. The way we played, the intensity we showed, the way we were trying to show who we are as a team. But at the same time, it’s just a test match," he said. "Don’t get carried away. There are still a lot of things that we have to get better at, and do better.

"But I think it’s good to get some momentum, finish the tour in the right way, give some enjoyment to our fans and everybody that’s been contributing to make this tour happen. Now it’s time to go back to London, to focus and keep making improvements and steps forwards."

Arsenal complete their pre-season at home with the Emirates Cup against Sevilla on Saturday, and begin their Premier League campaign against away to Crystal Palace on Friday, August 5.

100 major summer transfers so far

Updated: July 24, 2022, 9:44 AM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS
MORE FROM THE NATIONAL