Premier League • England

Thomas Tuchel honest on what sets Liverpool apart from Chelsea; explains Loftus-Cheek substitution

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel spoke openly about the gap between Chelsea and Liverpool, as well as his decision to substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek, after his team’s devastating FA Cup final defeat to the Reds.

Chelsea were looking for revenge at Wembley after losing the Carabao Cup final to Liverpool earlier in the season. But they couldn’t quite manage it as Liverpool lifted the trophy by triumphing in sudden death penalties once again.

Cesar Azpilicueta was the first player to miss his effort. The Spaniard’s shot hit the outside of the post, sparking huge Liverpool celebrations.

But Edouard Mendy dragged Chelsea back into contention by denying Senegal compatriot Sadio Mane.

Alisson followed suit for the Merseyside club by keeping Mason Mount’s spot-kick out.

And then it was the turn of Kostas Tsimikas, who sent Mendy the wrong way to give Klopp his first FA Cup final victory since taking charge at Anfield in October 2015 – our player ratings are available here.

For Chelsea, meanwhile, they have now lost two domestic finals to Liverpool in one campaign. To make matters worse, their record in FA Cup finals is now three defeats in a row.

At the post-match press conference, Tuchel was asked about the gap between his side and Liverpool. The German thinks Liverpool’s ability to perform twice a week, every week is what sets them apart from the Blues.

Thomas Tuchel talks Chelsea, Liverpool difference

“We proved four times this season that we can produce peak performances to compete with them at this kind of level,” Tuchel said (via “All the results were deserved and could’ve gone our way or their way.

“The difference for me throughout the season is they can do it Wednesday to Saturday, Wednesday to Saturday. They arrived with a big squad, everybody but Fabinho, in a good rhythm.

“We had many players out. N’Golo [Kante] with one training session and Mateo [Kovacic] playing with an ankle that I didn’t know it was possible to fit into a shoe. This is where the gap comes from.”

Tuchel also fielded questions about German attackers Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, who both failed to make it onto the pitch.

“Kai did not train yesterday because of hamstring problems. He thought if he trained he would injure himself. We left it until the last test this morning but it was not possible.

“Timo was injured and uncomfortable during the warm-up and said he could not play.”

Ruben Loftus-Cheek had the unlucky role of being the substitute to get substituted. When asked if this decision was because of an injury, Tuchel replied: “No, that was purely for penalties. Ruben doesn’t have a good history and Ross [Barkley] has. So it was down to the penalties.”

Chelsea must now get their heads back up ahead of Thursday night’s visit from Leicester City in the Premier League. After all, the west London outfit still have to secure Champions League qualification for next season.

“Harder but not impossible [to lift the players up],” Tuchel said. “The best way is to be honest, we have two days off and then we need to prepare.

“The season has not finished and we have goals to reach in the Premier League.”

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