Thomas Tuchel unable to hide full-time anger as Chelsea star goes into the stand against Everton

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It’s a script Chelsea supporters – and Thomas Tuchel – have seen play out far too many times this season. The Blues dominate a contest, appear to be grinding down an opponent, and then make one individual error that condemns them to defeat.

Brentford. Real Madrid. Arsenal. Now Everton. And not just any Everton, Frank Lampard’s Everton. That will have hurt for some more than others, among the Chelsea first-team squad and the fanbase.

Less than 18 months ago, Lampard was in charge at Stamford Bridge. Under his watch, Marcos Alonso was frozen out. Antonio Rudiger and Jorginho were on the fringes. Yet Lampard’s dismissal and Tuchel’s arrival transformed Chelsea into Champions League winners.

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And the club icon, the man ditched midway through a supposed three-year project with the Blues, is now at the helm at Goodison and hoping to guide Everton, who’ve not been relegated since 1951, out of the relegation zone. In that sense, Chelsea did Lampard a huge favour this afternoon. Not that Tuchel will see it like that.

He will view this as another sign his side are simply not ready to compete for the Premier League title, that Manchester City and Liverpool are still several steps ahead. There have been several reminders of that fact in recent weeks, and this was simply another.

Change is coming – it was confirmed on Friday that a consortium led by U.S. billionaire Todd Boehly is now in exclusive talks to purchase the club from Roman Abramovich for around £4billion. What Chelsea looks like if and when that deal is completed is unknown.

What is certain, though, is the Blues need a big summer. This squad has proved capable of producing big moments, of raising their level for 90 minutes, but for the match-to-match grind of the Premier League, it’s not deep enough. The relentless mindset is not there.

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Everton’s team coach arrived in fevered scenes outside of Goodison. Blue smoke bombs were released. The crowd was raucous. If the home side’s players needed extra motivation, this was it. A passionate reminder of exactly what this game meant to those from Merseyside.

The travelling Chelsea supporters were less rabid. There was no need to be in truth. Their side are almost certain to finish in the top four, almost certain to be playing Champions League football once again next season. The stakes were simply not as high.

It’s why for a period of the opening 45 minutes, they instead focused on showing appreciation to arguably the club’s greatest-ever player: Lampard. The ‘Super Frank’ chant was given multiple airings, as was the song coined after his 200th goal for the Blues against West Ham United.

READ MORE: Graeme Souness names Chelsea’s problem players as Thomas Tuchel falls to Everton defeat

On the pitch, there was plenty of heart from Everton, who attempted to press Chelsea into mistakes. None came…in the first half. And the chances that were fashioned largely came from Tuchel’s side. Mason Mount whipped a shot over, and Marcos Alonso had another blocked.

Chelsea had more than 75 per cent of the ball before the interval, but their possession was too pedestrian. There were moments when pace was injected through surges forward from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but they were few and far between.

It’s perhaps why Tuchel became agitated. One errant Azpilicueta pass was greeted by the Chelsea head coach throwing his arms into the air and returning to his seat in the dugout. He was also incredibly frustrated with Kevin Friend when a decision went against the Blues.

At the break, Tuchel made a change, something that has become almost routine in recent weeks. Jorginho was replaced by Mateo Kovacic, a switch almost certainly designed to add thrust to the midfield.

Yet mere seconds into the second period, Chelsea once again mastered their own downfall. There was little danger when Azpilicueta received the ball on the edge of his own penalty area, but the skipper dallied, saw his attempted pass intercepted, and Richarlison was able to finish beyond Edouard Mendy.

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The volume inside Goodison increased as Everton had something to hold onto. It almost got even better when the ball was shifted onto Vitalii Mykolenko, but the full-back curled his attempted shot wide. All the while, Tuchel looked on at what was unfolding. He was not a happy coach.

Chelsea attempted to respond swiftly. Mount saw an effort strike both posts before Azpilicueta’s effort on the rebound was saved by Pickford. The Everton goalkeeper then produced a fine reaction stop to deny Rudiger from close range.

As the minutes ticked down, those inside Everton’s home, barring the travelling fans, did what they could to help their side. One steward angered Kai Havertz when he threw the ball away from the German, who had jogged over to collect it.

The home supporters then forced Mendy to climb into the stand in an attempt to retrieve an Anthony Gordon punt forward. Again, the ball was chucked away from the Chelsea goalkeeper. Childish stuff, sure, but understandable given the situation Everton finds themselves in.

Chelsea piled on the pressure late on, and Pickford had to produce another fine stop to deny Kovacic, but it simply wasn’t enough from the visitors, who didn’t deserve to come away with three points that mean far more, too Everton.

As the full-time whistle sounded, Tuchel exchanged a quick handshake with Lampard and then trudged across the Goodison Park pitch to the away dressing room. There wasn’t an attempt to engage with any of his players and only the briefest acknowledgement to the Chelsea fans as he passed.

This was a re-run. A repeat witnessed once too many times for Tuchel. And he is within his rights to want something different. A big summer lies ahead.

Source by Football London

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