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The fallout from the failed launch of the Super League has dominated headlines all week, and in London it reached its peak before the Premier League clash against Brighton, with fans blocking the road leading to Stamford Bridge. The Blues played poorly in that game, and managed to hold on to a goalless draw.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel admitted that the incident made him lose focus and it also affected his players as well. According to Tuchel, he had to turn off his TV.
“We had several talks [with the players] about it between Sunday and Tuesday, honestly, which I don’t know if it helped or if it did not help in the end but I arrived in the stadium in a strange mix of feelings,” he said.
“I was a bit annoyed, I was a bit angry, I was impatient, I was absolutely not focused like I normally am on match days.
“It was a strange mix and I couldn’t really get rid of it during the match and after the match, so my medicine was to turn things off. I did not watch any TV, I did not watch any news, any football, which is very unusual for me.
“I talked enough about it and I’d heard enough about it and I knew we were pulling out and I simply didn’t want to see all the explanations, all the thoughts, all the comments over and over again.
“So I decided not to speak again with the team [about the Super League after Tuesday]. We did a normal post-match talk with them like usual but now I feel like everybody has the possibility to focus like normal on a big match, which is absolutely necessary, and from here, on we go.”
Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy also admitted that the ESL drama affected the players’ focus.
“We’re humans, so yes, I think the Super League and the news [had an effect],” the Senegal international told Sky Sports.
“Because every time you open your phone, you see the Super League [everywhere].
“Even your friends called you, they texted you [about the news].
“So I think, yes, it affected us. We tried against Brighton, we tried to give our best, but it didn’t work.”
Thankfully, the team had bounced back with a 1-0 victory over West Ham and are now set to give Real Madrid a run for their money.