Thomas Tuchel hasd plenty of excuses for his Chelsea side after they drew a blank in a 0-0 draw with Brighton at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
Amid the off-field furore around the proposed European Super League, the Blues knew they would move into the Champions League places by avoiding defeat to the Seagulls.
And they managed to do so despite failing to impress in the goalless contest, with the point they earned taking them above the Hammers on goal difference.
However, they will need to perform with much more energy and spark in the remaining weeks of the season if they are to stay there.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Tuchel admitted his side were clearly tired: “It was not our best game – the opponents defended well and we weren’t in the same rhythm.
“Maybe we were tired and a bit distracted, maybe a combination and it wasn’t our best performance. We were perhaps lucky not to lose and we couldn’t get any big chances today and there were some mistakes in our decision making. The team has to accept we weren’t good enough to win today.
“We were clearly tired, we’ve had several travels and tough matches and we suffered a bit from the strong line-up at Wembley and the guys could not find their rhythm and structure for counter-pressing and we tried to change the system which didn’t really well. We didn’t deserve to win.”
No Super League distractions
Asked if talk about the European Super League affected Chelsea’s performance, Tuchel added: “I dunno how much the distraction hindered us. It’s not necessary to talk about it. We can’t find out. it was there, but we have to accept it and we could not our find our best game, but we played a strong opponent who defended aggressively and we could not find the decisive breakthrough.
“It hasn’t been tough at all. The situation was not clear. I was informed like you were informed and it was not so tough. It wasn’t strange, there has been no other subject, you didn’t ask me about the match at all beforehand. You prepare a match, but it is strange that nobody is talking about it. It wasn’t though, it was just the way it was.
“I was totally focussed on the match, and I was clearly not happy, nobody was and that can happen even if we had the best preparation. There are no excuses.”