Premier League • England

Tuchel laments ‘huge moment’ that went wrong for Chelsea star; sends reminder to another ‘in the spotlight’

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel believes Romelu Lukaku’s confidence would have benefitted from a goal in midweek, while he hopes Edouard Mendy does not see his own suffer after a mistake.

After suffering consecutive home defeats to Brentford and Real Madrid, Chelsea are back on the road on Saturday for a match at Southampton. They will be hoping to get back on track, after Tuchel oversaw a meeting to dissect the Madrid loss.

They need to address any rising concerns to pick it up again in the Premier League. One of those concerns could be the form of Romelu Lukaku, who could not finish a decent chance in midweek.

The Belgian striker is a doubt for the Southampton game (as is Hakim Ziyech, while Callum Hudson-Odoi remains unavailable). But Tuchel feels he would have benefitted by getting back among the goals before then.

He told a pre-match press conference: “After the international break, we had the feeling we are all lacking shape. Romelu had one good chance and a very big chance.

“Nothing else helps more than goals. It would’ve been a huge moment for him.”

There are also concerns for Chelsea at the other end of the pitch, where they have usually been solid under Tuchel.

One man who was in the spotlight against Real was goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. He has been a reliable number one for Chelsea over the past couple of seasons, but gave the ball away to Karim Benzema for the striker’s hat-trick goal.

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But asked if that could lead to him being rested against Southampton, Tuchel suggested the Senegal international should simply remain confident.

He explained: “It’s life as a goalkeeper at a high level. Goalkeeper is a very special position and when you play as such a high level and are as successful as Edou over the last couple of months, you are even more in the spotlight.

“He was never fully free of mistakes, maybe last season, we helped him better, maybe more lucky.

Edouard Mendy reacts to a mistake for Chelsea

“Of course, he can solve this situation [against Real Madrid] much better and he knows it. It’s a bad time to do a mistake but in a quarter-final against Real Madrid is the worst time because it’s so obvious.

“I hope it doesn’t affect his self-confidence. This is what goalkeeping is about: accepting mistakes.”

Chelsea ‘don’t like’ defensive issues, says Tuchel

Instead, perhaps their defensive issues cover wider themes. Tuchel will have to find a way to fix them after admitting it is becoming a problem.

He said: “We don’t like it. I don’t know if we’re concerned but it’s very untypical for us.

“We had a look into it, talked to the team about it to try to work out how to improve.

“It’s not like us to defend like this and concede so many goals. We didn’t see it coming because it wasn’t the case before the international break. It’s not so easy to deal with because it doesn’t fit into a pattern.”

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