Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel relaxed about Hakim Ziyech and Romelu Lukaku discussing things at half-time vs Brighton
According to football.london, speaking after the 1-1 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium, Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel said it was normal that his players were talking and unhappy about the situation in the game. Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech seemed to be at the centre of multiple incidents during the game.
The London side took the lead thanks to Ziyech’s strike from distance in the first half but saw themselves held to a draw at the end of the game after Seagulls defender Adam Webster equalised in the second half. The draw means that Chelsea are still without a Premier League win since Boxing Day, with five draws in their last seven matches in the top-flight.
The Blues looked frustrated and out of ideas on the night. Ziyech, in particular, was involved in an animated discussion with teammate Romelu Lukaku heading into halftime. The Belgian looked to be making a point to Ziyech and seemed exasperated with some of his fellow forward’s decisions, but Tuchel has now played down any talk of disharmony.
“It’s normal that they (Ziyech & Lukaku) talk, it’s normal that they’re not happy. In the reaction of the goal, you can see that we are tired. We are relieved but there is no joy.”
Chelsea’s players certainly seem to have the weight on their shoulders, with Lukaku visibly upset when one pass from Ziyech was played into his feet rather than the path he was running into. The Moroccan was seen covering his mouth during the conversation with Lukaku as they headed into the tunnel.
All good in the hood?
This was not the only incident involving the 28-year-old, as Ziyech was seen embroiled in deep discussions with Mason Mount instead of celebrating his goal. While the other players were huddled around after the Morocco international gave Chelsea the lead, Blues stars Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson-Odoi were also seen working things out.
Tuchel admitted that his side was in need of a break and recharge their batteries. With all the on-field incidents, combined with Chelsea’s tired performance against an impressive Brighton side, pundit Alan Shearer believes it was a sign of underlying problems in the club.
“Lack of celebration, lack of reaction. Heads down. I don’t need any more evidence there’s an issue in that dressing room.”
Chelsea’s wretched form continued well into the New Year, with the Blues still not able to register a win in recent games. The draw against Brighton effectively saw us crash out of the title race, once again dropping points away from home. Mathematically, it is still possible, but Man City are ruthless.
After last weekend’s loss against defending champions Manchester City, we were expecting the team to bounce back strongly against the Seagulls, but the players still seemed to be nursing the hangover of the previous defeat. The on-field behaviour of some of them, as cited above, pose the question of whether everything is okay behind the scenes or not.
With the FIFA Club World Cup coming up next, we will be needing as much recovery time as possible for our players to pick themselves up and perform at their best. Perhaps, the players were a bit down after the defeat against City, but they must realize they have a lot to fight for on a personal and collective level. Ziyech, for instance, should know that he has to continue to perform to become a regular starter here.
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He will hope that his goal against Brighton kicks things off for him on a personal level, and gets back to his best form. His on-field conversations with his fellow teammates may seem concerning from the outside, but it is sure to sort out any impending issues between players so they can move forward and work well together in coming games. After all, those who have played football themselves, would know that on-field discussions- sometimes heated- are a part and parcel of the game.
It doesn’t need to be anything controversial or problematic and if Tuchel is relaxed about it, there is no reason for any of us to worry too.
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