Thomas Tuchel has urged Chelsea to ‘toughen up’ after a 2-1 Premier League defeat at Southampton.
Romeo Lavia and Adam Armstrong fired the Saints to a well-deserved win at St Mary’s Stadium and inflicted their second defeat on Chelsea in their first five league games.
Raheem Sterling scored his third goal in two games to give Chelsea an early lead, but the visitors’ dominance waned worryingly as the Saints swept to victory.
Frustrated Chelsea boss Tuchel lamented two “soft, soft, soft” goals before urging his players to harden their mindset.
“We’re not strong enough at the moment to win these games away from home,” said Tuchel.
“It’s a bit the same story as in (the 3-0 defeat at) Leeds. At Leeds we thought the problem was that we didn’t score in the first 20, 25 minutes.
“They knocked us off balance at Leeds with two goals in two minutes and we couldn’t find any answers.
“Today we scored so we thought everything was fine but another set piece, another sloppy defense and we’re off balance.
“And today we didn’t react to that; We were lucky not to concede the third goal.
“We weren’t strong enough as a team to react or get it over the line for us.”
When asked to review Chelsea’s clean sheets, Tuchel continued: “Soft, soft, soft. What’s stopping this? Stop it with pure mentality. Stop it with pure mentality.
“There is no superiority for the opponent, there is no need to take shots, there is no need.
“Just get tougher as a team. And show the mentality. That’s my assessment today.
“I don’t usually like to talk about it because you can’t prove it with data, posture or tactical position in a loss. But it is so.
“Both goals are cheap goals, soft goals and shouldn’t happen if you’re expecting to win a Premier League game, a night game and an away game.
“With our standards and our ambitions, it is all the more important when key players are missing that we have to show a different mentality.
“It’s not enough to be beaten in Southampton at the moment. There’s no shame, we’re humble enough to accept that we can lose football games.
“But it’s too easy to push us off the track, it’s too easy to win challenges, it’s too easy to bully us.”
Southampton were left to toast a famous win and a raucous crowd rejoiced at tossing the 2021 Champions League winners on their heads.
Defenseman Armel Bella-Kotchap summed up the Saints’ youthful exuberance with a delicate, challenging performance that left coach Ralph Hasenhuttl ecstatic.
“If you look at his physical quality, it’s perfect for the Premier League,” said Hasenhüttl. “And that’s what we hoped for in the summer.
“I was more wondering if he had the right attitude but it seems the Premier League is so interesting to him and he’s fully focused.
“The atmosphere tonight was sensational. That carried us in the last 15 minutes when we were sometimes under pressure.
“Everything is very positive except for a worrying hamstring injury for Romeo (Lavia) who hopefully won’t be out for too long.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/thomas-tuchel-southampton-ralph-hasenhuttl-premier-league-stadium-b2156175.html Thomas Tuchel tells Chelsea to ‘toughen up’ after Southampton defeat