THOMAS TUCHEL used his programme notes to tell Chelsea fans how fatigued his players are.
But the Blues’ comfortable 2-0 win over bitter rivals Tottenham on Sunday showed even his tired backups are capable of beating most teams in the Premier League.
Thomas Tuchel said his players were tired after their draw at Brighton last time out but his squad looked full of energy as they beat Spurs on SundayCredit: AP
Backup stars Malang Sarr and Callum Hudson-Odoi were particularly effective in the 2-0 victoryCredit: Getty
Hudson-Odoi had Japhet Tanganga chasing shadows all afternoonCredit: Getty
Chelsea have played 18 GAMES in all competitions since the November international break – the highest of any team in the Premier League.
And as a result, Tuchel explained he has found it hard to be tough on his players recently despite the fact they had not won a Premier League game since Boxing Day before Spurs came to town.
The German gave his players two days off after they threw away a 1-0 lead to draw 1-1 at Brighton last time out.
And it seemed to work as they brushed their London rivals to one side with his ‘backup stars’ performing particularly well.
Malang Sarr and Callum Hudson-Odoi can hardly consider themselves guaranteed starters if Tuchel has his full quota of players available.
Granted Hudson-Odoi has started the last six games but he may have found such a run of minutes hard to come by had were it not for injuries to key wide players.
But both men were superb as the Blues swatted away Antonio Conte’s men with relative ease.
Hudson-Odoi had Japhet Tanganga on toast all afternoon as he tormented him down Chelsea’s left.
Admittedly his end product was frustratingly lacking in the first-half but he looked a different man after the break as he became far more decisive and dangerous.
It was his driving run past the by-then booked Tanganga which saw him cut inside and feed Hakim Ziyech who treated Blues fans to a beautiful finish into the top-left corner.
He received a huge ovation from the Stamford Bridge faithful when he was subbed late on and Tuchel should have no worries about including him next time out.
And Sarr was equally effective at left-back.
He didn’t give Tottenham a sniff and stood up to every challenge Harry Kane and Steven Bergwijn threw at the home side.
The Frenchman even had to survive a nasty looking shin-high tackle from Matt Doherty in the first-half which the Irishman somehow escaped a red card for.
Kepa and Mateo Kovacic were also more than proficient in place of first-choice stars Edouard Mendy and N’Golo Kante.
Tuchel said in the programme: “It was tough on Tuesday night [at Brighton].
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“We looked tired and that is to be expected when you go into a game like that so soon after playing a very intense 90 minutes in Manchester three days earlier.
“It’s difficult to be hard on the players at the moment because I could see they were mentally and physically fatigued.”
Well such sentiments may fall on deaf ears after Sunday as his Blues looked full of beans.
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