A furious Thomas Tuchel questioned his Chelsea side’s commitment “physically and mentally” after they were hammered 4-0 by Arsenal.
First-half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard put the Gunners in complete control at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando before Bukayo Saka tapped in during the second period and Albert Sambi Lokonga rubbed salt into the wounds with an injury-time header.
Tuchel admitted he was worried and did not hold back after seeing his team collapse against one of their Premier League rivals with the new season just two weeks away.
“I think we deserved to lose – which is fair enough – because we were simply not good enough,” he said.
“We were absolutely not competitive. The worrying part is the level of commitment, physically and mentally, for this match was not the same, it was far higher for Arsenal than us.
“We can argue they played with I think their strongest line-up; they’ve had now together several weeks and for more than one year. They’ve strengthened their line-up, played the same structure, and this is the line-up they’ll try to start Premier League games.
“It was not our strongest line-up and this is part of an explanation, but only a little part. The other part is worrying.”
Chelsea’s pre-season friendlies:
- Chelsea 2-1 Club America
- Charlotte FC 1-1 Chelsea (Chelsea lose 5-3 on penalties)
- Arsenal 4-0 Chelsea
- Udinese – Friday July 29, Dacia Arena, Udine; kick-off 8pm BST
Kalidou Koulibaly’s 17-minute cameo, his first appearance since signing from Napoli in a £33m deal, was the only positive for Tuchel.
However, his and Chelsea’s performance highlighted the need for the club to make more signings with their pursuit of Jules Kounde still ongoing.
“There is no update, no update,” Tuchel said on Kounde. “The analysing of the season does not change because of this game.
“Unfortunately, it proved my point and the last week proves my point. I would prefer to not be right and I did everything to prove myself wrong, but at the moment I feel I was right when I look at the last season and at the parts of the game where we struggled and how we struggled.
“We got sanctioned and players left us, we know that some players are trying to leave us, and this is where it is. We had an urgent appeal for quality players and a huge amount of quality players. We’ve got two quality players – that is no doubt – but we are not competitive like this and unfortunately, we could see it today.”
Tuchel also conceded that goalscoring is a concern of his with the club needing an out-and-out striker following the departure of Romelu Lukaku on loan to Inter Milan.
And the Chelsea boss knows the bigger picture of this defeat means they are already way behind the levels of title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.
“At the moment, given the last two weeks, given our last week and given the game today we should not mention the two teams in front of us,” he said.
“We got, like, absolutely beaten by a team that does not play Champions League next season, that is behind us. And it seems at the moment far ahead of us.”
Chelsea were beaten on penalties by Charlotte FC after conceding a late equaliser in their previous pre-season friendly having edged past Club America 2-1 in Las Vegas.
Their America tour has not provided an easy foundation for Tuchel to work with his squad but he was not prepared to use that solely as an explanation of their Arsenal battering.
“It was long. It was long, for sure,” he said. “Also hard. It was long and we could see – we could feel the energy, the energy level dropped after Las Vegas and after the Charlotte game because of a lot of travelling. And very humid and very hot temperature made it tough because we are now two weeks on the road.
“So yeah, that’s also a point, but it’s not the only point, it’s a little point in the explanation why we did not look fresh. I did not expect it today. Also we lowered a bit the intensity and volume in training over the last days but not in a way that we could expect to have fresh legs. So that was not the biggest surprise. But there’s a difference between being tired and playing like this.”
Tuchel added: “My personal feeling, I don’t know if I ever lost a match in pre-season 4-0. I cannot remember. I cannot remember not winning two matches in a row in a pre-season
“I am a huge fan of a strong pre-season for everything – for the atmosphere, for the feeling, for the performance, for the belief.
“So I’m in it. Of course, I’m a part of it. Need to find solutions. We fly home now. And we have one and a half days only and Tuesday afternoon we need to present solutions. We need to present actions, like, we, me, coaching staff, together with our team to stand up again and find a way through this because it hurts at the moment.”
Chelsea head to Italy for their final pre-season friendly to face Udinese on Friday July 29 at the Dacia Arena. Kick-off 8pm BST.
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