Chelsea: Tuchel responds to 'squeaky-bum time' question
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Thomas Tuchel’s transfer priority was clear to see as Chelsea squeezed into next season’s Champions League on the final day of the Premier League season. Chelsea lost 2-1 to Aston Villa to be leapfrogged by Liverpool, but secured a fourth-placed finish after Leicester were beaten 4-2 by Tottenham.
Needing a win to make sure of their top-four spot, Chelsea dominated the ball in the opening half – but as has been the case so many times this season, they failed to take their chances.
Mason Mount – one of the Blues’ most consistent performers this season – spurned a couple of good opportunities, while Timo Werner failed to steer a header on target and later scooped one straight into the arms of Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez.
And they were made to pay for their lack of a cutting edge when Bertrand Traore fired Villa ahead just before the break.
The warning signs had been there, with John McGinn firing off target after muscling Mateo Kovacic off the ball minutes earlier.
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Werner’s pace and movement can cause teams problems and is undoubtedly an asset, but he didn’t impose himself on proceedings at Villa Park in the way a Kane or an Erling Haaland could have.
Chelsea have of course been linked with both players, as well as Sergio Aguero, who appears bound for Barcelona.
And how they could have done with any one of the three as they laboured in front of goal on Sunday.
Werner did have the ball in the net shortly before the hour mark – but missed out on a goal after Cesar Azpilicueta was caught offside in the buld-up.
And when Chelsea’ scored it was perhaps significant that it came from wing-back Chilwell, rather than from their expensively assembled attack.
In the end it didn’t matter, thanks to the result at the King Power Stadium.
Chelsea of course have one more huge game to come, when they line up against Manchester City in next Saturday’s Champions League final.
But if they repeat their toothless atracking display against Villa, they will struggle to beat a City side who ended their title-winning league campaign in style with a 5-0 win over Everton.
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