Premier League • England

Thomas Tuchel insists cancelling players’ day off was ‘no punishment’; Marcos Alonso spat ‘solved’

Thomas Tuchel Chelsea May 2022

Thomas Tuchel has drawn a line under Saturday’s incident with Marcos Alonso and insisted that cancelling the players’ day off on Sunday was “not to punish them”.

The German coach watched his out-of-form side pass up a two-goal lead at Stamford Bridge last weekend. Wolves scored twice late on, with the equaliser from Conor Coady seven minutes into stoppage time.

It was another disappointing result, with last month’s 1-0 win over West Ham their sole win in the last five games. Their run of poor form has seen Arsenal threatening them for a third-placed finish.

Tuchel cancelled the players’ day off on Sunday. Instead he brought the first-team squad into the Cobham training ground for extra sessions.

The German coach insisted the extra day’s work was the opposite of a punishment. And instead wants them to close ranks.

Tuchel also dismissed suggestions of a fallout with Alonso. The pair had a disagreement during the Wolves clash, with the 31-year-old then substituted at half-time as Chelsea switched formation.

Alonso was upset at the calls from the bench after he gave the ball away against Wolves.

But Tuchel says the matter has been dealt with and is now history.

Asked about any issues with Alonso, Tuchel replied: “It started and ended in the first half, and was not continued at half-time or anything else.

“It was not continued at half-time, things are solved, and that happens.

“We came in on Sunday. We’d planned a free day but after the disappointment it was not even to punish them.

“It was normally a free day and of course maybe some felt it was a punishment but it wasn’t.

Thomas Tuchel Marcos Alonso April 2022

“It’s not the moment for a free day. I explained to them, it’s better to be together and talk about it than to go, everybody has his own opinion and everybody has his own truth, maybe it’s more risk to be in fragments than in here.

“So we did here very, very light training, just had a run together and spent time together discussing things, how we want to approach the next days.

“That was actually why we brought everybody together, to have the chance to be together, then a lot of players supported the under-23s on the other pitch.

‘Open-minded group’

“It was very nice to see and actually it was what we are, a very supportive and open-minded group of players.

“So that’s what it felt like on Sunday, that was the Sunday morning.


“It was not to punish them, not do to a video session and show mistakes. It was just to be together and actually not to be in different groups and be away from each other on a free day. That’s why we had everybody in.”

Tuchel will take Chelsea north to relegation-threatened Leeds on Wednesday, looking to get back to winning ways

But he believes his players are looking mentally tired after a long season.

“We look a bit drained, tired mentally; we look at the sideline, this is understandable given the circumstances around the club in which we play in,” said Tuchel.

“This is draining, this is challenging. We had some knockout games in which we play after the national break, with huge emotional input, huge emotions to deal with.

“From losing to Real Madrid, winning at Real Madrid, losing the Champions League then suddenly being at Wembley and then suddenly in the race in two weeks with four matches against different teams in the Premier League.

“It is quite challenging. After all we have a lot of matches in our legs, in our bones.

Tuchel happy with motivation

“We feel it. It’s another reason. I think everybody knows it, we can even feel it and still with being tired, distracted, maybe concerned, we need to reach a certain level which is possible.

“We can do better than we did in the last two matches. The positive thing is that I feel the will, the motivation.

“The motivation was very high to turn things around against Wolverhampton.

“You see the physical input. It was maybe too high in some situations where we even attacked with defenders, very high in the pitch and opened space in counter-attacks.

“It was not a lack of motivation, it was the opposite. There was good signs. We trust the team, we trust our players and trust what brought us here.

“Now is the moment for me to stay calm. Take it step by step and finish the season on a positive note.”

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