Thomas Tuchel admitted his Chelsea side was not good enough in a 1-0 home Premier League defeat by champion Manchester City on Saturday which ended Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the season.
Chelsea’s 5-3-2 formation was designed to frustrate City but offered little other than defensive solidity until Gabriel Jesus broke the deadlock with a shot on the turn in the 53rd minute.
City, which had lost all its meetings with Chelsea since Tuchel took charge in January, including the Champions League final, would have won by more but for home keeper Edouard Mendy.
“We lost the game and City deserved to win. Until the goal we were very strong in the last 20 metres of the field, but only there unfortunately,” Tuchel told reporters.
“Everywhere else we were not good enough to relieve pressure and to hurt them. The performance was not complex enough.
“Overall, simply, we were not at our best level.”
Chelsea did try and raise the tempo in a bid to salvage the game but it was too little too late and Tuchel was asked why he started the game with such a cautious approach.
“We can debate and we won’t have the answers. We played 5-3-2 but I don’t think it was the structure,” he said.
“It was a matter of adapting to the opponents’ spaces. We tried the system to have connections in the build-up. We win together and lose together. I will ask questions of myself.”
Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku hardly got a look in apart from one effort that was disallowed for offside.
“I don’t think we need to talk about Romelu because when the ball reached him the attack was half over because there was no connection. It wasn’t a Romelu problem,” Tuchel said.
City produced its best display of the season, pressing the ball relentlessly and smothering the home side which failed to register a shot on target.
Manager Pep Guardiola, a keen golf fan, said his side’s teamwork reminded him of the Ryder Cup.
“Today we played for each other, ran for each other and passed the ball for each other. Now I’m watching the Ryder Cup and I’m seeing how they play for each other. That is nice when you play football too,” the Spaniard said.
“It’s just three points, but the way we played was so good.”
Guardiola surpasses McDowall’s record
Guardiola became Manchester City’s most successful manager in terms of wins with the win.
The Spaniard surpassed the record of 220 victories set by Les McDowall, who managed City for 592 games, as compared to 303 matches managed by Guardiola.
McDowall, manager between 1950 to 1963, led City to only one FA Cup win in 1956 while Guardiola has won eight trophies with them.
“I’m so proud. We’ve done it at Stamford Bridge at the last Champions League winner. We’ve been magnificent together. It makes me proud, a little bit for myself but especially for the club,” Guardiola told reporters.
“Today the guys were outstanding. At this stadium and against this opponent, to do what we have done makes me so proud. When we win the manager is a genius when we lose he is not. I understand everything.”
Guardiola faces a huge week ahead with Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Paris St Germain before a Premier League showdown with Liverpool at Anfield next weekend.
“It’s a good way to start this fascinating week that we have ahead of us,” Guardiola said.