Thomas Tuchel says fixture pile-up is main reason for Chelsea struggles

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel wouldn’t blame his players for their 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion, as the boss seemed to seethe about the schedule more than anything else.

It was the European champions’ second-straight draw with Brighton and comes on the heels of a 1-0 loss to Premier League-leading Manchester City.

“We looked tired,” Tuchel said. “We knew they were well-prepared and had less games to prepare for this match. Final whistle, stadium celebrates like a victory. That’s what you face. At the moment it’s difficult. We tried everything but you can see that we are mentally and physically tired.”

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Tuchel was asked what the Blues need to get back to their best.

“We need days off,” said the Chelsea boss. “We have two days off and two days to prepare for the next match against Tottenham. We need days off.”

No celebrations? No real problem?

The more interesting words might come from Tuchel’s reaction to Hakim Ziyech’s choice not to celebrate the goal that put Chelsea up 1-0.

The Moroccan hasn’t played as much as he wants and was later shown having a heated debate with — key word, with — Romelu Lukaku on his way off the field.

Tuchel says he’s fine with Ziyech’s lack of celebration and the players’ ornery nature.

“He can score 20 more and not celebrate, I’ll have no problem,” Tuchel said. “It’s normal that they talk and it’s normal that they aren’t happy and don’t like it. Even in the reaction to the goal, you can see that we’re tired. We’re relieved that we have the goal but it’s not pure joy. That’s my reading of the team right now.”

Chelsea’s played seven games since Jan. 2 between the FA Cup, League Cup, and Premier League. It’s not about to relent as the Club World Cup and UEFA Champions League kick-on next month.