Thomas Tuchel was then as good as defeated in the Champions League Chelsea lost 3-1 in the first leg to Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge.
Arim Benzema’s stunning hat-trick put Real in total control at half-time in the quarter-finals against the defending champions.
And a deflated and irate Blues boss Tuchel effectively conceded Chelsea now have chances to relinquish their Champions League crown.
Tuchel took charge of the tactical setup that allowed Benzema and Vinicius Junior to terrorize Andreas Christensen on Chelsea’s right winger.
But the Chelsea boss urged his players to rediscover their lost poise in Saturday’s Premier League trip to Southampton to get their stalled season back on track.
When asked if the tie is still alive despite the loss, Tuchel replied: “No. Not at the moment, no.
“Because we need to find our level back, I don’t know where it’s been since the international break, but the first half is a repeat of the second half against Brentford, in the quarter-finals against Real Madrid.
“We were so far from our level in everything the game asked for. We have to prepare everything for Saturday in Southampton and we can’t think about the Bernabeu today.
“We meet Southampton on Saturday and if we keep playing like this we won’t get a point.”
Chelsea have scored seven goals in two games after beating Brentford 4-1 at home on Saturday, leaving the Blues struggling to find their form.
Tuchel admitted the international break had dissipated all of Chelsea’s momentum and insisted the Blues had to forget Tuesday’s trip to Madrid given their weekend clash in Southampton.
Asked if admitting defeat at half-time in the round of 16 would send the wrong message to his players, Tuchel replied: “If you’re going to put it on that set, put it honestly on that set.
“I’m more worried about Southampton on Saturday than I am about Real Madrid on Tuesday. If we don’t get our heads and legs straight and our mentality right, we’re not going to win. And then this tie is not alive.
“If maybe things change but how many clubs in world football could do what we need, three goals difference? How often does that happen?
“Let’s be honest, we know we’re competitive and we have to find our competitive quality and then we can talk.
“I personally think there was enough where we could hurt them, but we were so far from our level in everything the game requires, tactically, form, stiffness, in challenges.
“It concerns us all, I’m in. Individually, we lost form and sharpness during the international break.
“I don’t really have an explanation because we’re not very, very competitive anymore.
“It was my fault for the situation on the flank with Christensen. However, there are seven goals conceded in five days.
“I don’t think there’s a deeper reason for that. But it’s alarming, because in two games seven goals. But nothing has changed.”
Benzema increased his amazing season record to 37 goals in 36 games in all competitions.
The 34-year-old Real Madrid captain now has hat-tricks in consecutive Champions League games and has scored 13 goals in his last seven Madrid games in all competitions.
“Karim Benzema is getting better every day; like a good wine,” said Real coach Carlo Ancelotti.
“He’s more of a leader every day, he feels more and more important in this team and this squad. And I think that makes the difference.
“He has so much more personality, he knows he’s a very important player for us and he’s a role model for everyone.
“I think the most important thing was the courage the players showed. The key was that we brought the ball out very well from behind, we could get between the lines and Vinicius and Karim Benzema were very dangerous. Both are very well networked.”
Ancelotti returned a negative Covid test just in time to link with his Madrid squad that day. The 60-year-old was in good health – but still wary of an injured Chelsea for the second leg.
“I feel good, I actually had no symptoms,” said Ancelotti. I managed to come back luckily the team did really well.
“It was a really good performance, we played well, we were brave, we showed our personality.
“We have a lead but that’s all at this stage. The tie is still open. Chelsea are a good team and we respect them, there’s one game left and anything can happen.”
April 6, 2022
Karim Benzema hat-trick leaves Chelsea’s Champions League hopes in tatters
Karim Benzema pushed Chelsea to the brink of surrendering the Champions League crown with a stunning hat-trick in Real Madrid’s 3-1 triumph at Stamford Bridge.
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https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/champions-league/angry-thomas-tuchel-makes-frank-admission-after-benzema-magic-gives-chelsea-mountain-to-climb-in-champions-league-41529204.html Angry Thomas Tuchel openly admits after Benzema magic gave Chelsea the mountain to climb in the Champions League