LONDON: Thomas Tuchel admits the COVID-19 contagion has affected Chelsea’s mission to chase the Premier League title after Everton tied them 1-1.
Tuchel’s squad went down without Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi after COVID-19 returned to haunt the English Premier League.
Ben Chilwell, who was rested due to injury, also tested positive, while Kai Havertz was unable to play due to ill health before the match.
The Blues have lost Mateo Kovacic who is still in the process of recovery after contracting the virus earlier this month.
Even without many key pillars, Chelsea finally managed to break through Everton’s goal in the second half through Mason Mount.
Chelsea, however, were punished by teenager defender Jarrad Branthwaite who blasted home his first Everton goal 16 minutes before the end of the match at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s hard to swallow. We missed a golden opportunity in the first half and we failed to find the rhythm in the second half.
“The main factor is of course the opportunity that failed to be taken advantage of. We should have taken a comfortable lead but played with risk.
“We didn’t have anyone on the bench. We put in the last player we had and lost key milestones as well as quality,” Tuchel said.
After leading the league for a few weeks, Chelsea are now in third place and four points behind leaders Manchester City and three behind Liverpool.