Tuchel rules Chelsea out of title race admitting Man City gap is “too much”
Chelsea are a massive 16 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City with a game in hand and Thomas Tuchel admits his side’s title hopes have evaporated
Thomas Tuchel has rubbished Chelsea ‘s chances of mounting a late challenge for the Premier League title by insisting their focus is on finishing in the top four.
The Blues led the way in the top flight for two months between early October and early December, but a poor run of three wins in their last nine games has severely dented their credentials.
Manchester City, in contrast, have won all but one of their last 15 games to establish a huge lead at the summit. The defending champions are nine points ahead of Liverpool and 16 clear of Chelsea, albeit having played one more game.
Tuchel admits his side’s race is run – at least regarding the title – and claims they must turn their attention to securing Champions League qualification.
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“Sixteen points sounds too much, is too much, compared to where we want to be and what we demand of ourselves. But it’s the reality,” Tuchel told reporters on Friday.
“To reach our targets, a realistic approach is also necessary so we should not get confused in thinking about winning the Premier League.
“Still, we have to realise we are in a race for the top four right now which is a huge thing in the Premier League in general.”
Chelsea have six points and a game in hand on fifth-place West Ham, who are leading the pack chasing Manchester United in fourth.
Battling for a top-four finish was not how Tuchel envisaged the season playing out on the back of Chelsea’s Champions League triumph last season.
The West Londoners were undone by a dismal run of one win in seven games between mid-December and mid-January, and the German manager confesses he will need to reflect on what went wrong this summer.
Tuchel added: “At the end of the season, you can look back and think about the reasons why it is like this and try to do stuff better.
“We can do, of course, things within the season to improve. This is what we do.
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“But right now the focus has to be realistic and we are in a race for the top four.
“[We] shouldn’t get frustrated or less passionate about what we do. Let’s keep going and push ourselves to the limit.”
Chelsea travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon before kicking off their Champions League knockout stage campaign three days later.
They have been drawn against reigning Ligue 1 champions Lille in the last 16 and will host the French club at Stamford Bridge in the first leg.