'Tired' Tuchel worried by leaky Chelsea as Hammers bid to inflict new Stamford Bridge blow

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Thomas Tuchel admits he has been left "very tired" by Chelsea's hectic programme and puzzled by their dreadful form at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues head coach said the demands since the international break have put him under strain, and he described Chelsea's form as "fragile".

While Tuchel appreciates managing the busy run of games is all part of the job, he is concerned by the rapidly rising number of costly individual errors that have crept into his team's performances.

Since Chelsea's players returned from national duty at the end of March, they have done well on their travels but suffered three painful home defeats.

They have lost 4-1 to Brentford and 4-2 to Arsenal at home in the Premier League, as well as going down 3-1 to Real Madrid, while a 6-0 win at Southampton provided relief before Chelsea were 3-2 victors after extra time against Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

That result ended Chelsea's Champions League campaign as they exited 5-4 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, but a 2-0 win at Wembley against Crystal Palace has set up an FA Cup final clash with Liverpool.

Consistency is painfully lacking, and with off-field issues an inevitable distraction as the club seeks new ownership, it is little wonder Tuchel feels a touch weary.

"I felt very tired after Real Madrid and after the turnaround: Southampton away, Real Madrid away, and another away game at Wembley," Tuchel said.

"It was tiring, and I felt it and asked myself what signals should I give."

Tuchel, whose team tackle West Ham on Sunday, said he does not "feel the same level of excitement before every match", but stressed that did not mean less effort goes into preparation.

He pointed to Chelsea's recent defensive record as an area of considerable concern.

Chelsea xGA
Chelsea xGA

"We have a bit of a bad mix of big individual mistakes and a bit of lack of quality in the one-on-one defensive attitude and behaviour in the box and around the box," Tuchel said.

"We get punished for it heavily. I'm not so sure I have an explanation why. The expected goals we conceded since the national break is a bit higher than normal.

"It's about tactics, high pressing, deep pressing, how chances are created, to keep the expected goals as low as possible."

Since the international break, Chelsea have conceded 13 times from an expected goals against (xGA) tally of 8.92.

This does not follow the pattern of their season as a whole. Including all competitions, they have an xGA of 61.43 but have conceded only 45 times.

Of the seven errors they have made leading to a goal in this campaign, four of those have come in the last three weeks.

"Most of the time in football it's a mixture of circumstances and bad luck, and the opponent making the very most of what we offer them," Tuchel said.

"We lack the real determination and attitude on the one-on-one in the box to maybe keep the actual goals under the expected goals."

Chelsea will put their home form up for scrutiny again as the Hammers visit this weekend. Tuchel's team have just seven wins from 15 Premier League home assignments this season, the fewest victories of all sides in the top seven.

Away from home, only Manchester City (12) have won more games than Chelsea (11) in the Premier League.

Tuchel joked that Chelsea could perhaps switch dressing rooms at home or choose another hotel before home games, if they were a superstitious team.

"I have no solution, but this is not the level we hope to produce in home games," he said. "It's a bit fragile at the moment, I have to say. It can happen that a feeling creeps in that you don't want to have in a home game.

"We have a row of three home games with very similar results that we absolutely don't like. It's now the job to convince the players to keep on going, supporters to keep on pushing, and hang on in positively. Don't get superstitious now and don't believe in things that are not there."

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