Chelsea exited the FA Cup at the hands of Manchester City as the travelling support sang the names of Thomas Tuchel and Roman Abramovich on a tumultuous night at the Etihad Stadium.
What is your assessment of today’s game?
“I thought we were second best to a very good side. Obviously, we’re not in a great moment ourselves and even though it was a cagey first 20 minutes we couldn’t attack the backline well enough or attack as well as we’d like. Manchester City did really well in terms of stopping us do that but at the same time, we struggled.
“It’s a fantastic first goal in terms of a strike from a free-kick and then there was the strange penalty and it’s then 2-0. We the had to chase the ball against Man City and we were caught between trying to commit more men forward and not being opened up. The first half was painful and tough for us all.
“The second half we had to respond and I thought there were some positives there in terms of the young players. I thought they gave everything and showed their quality. But in the end we’re disappointed because we’ve gone out of the competition. Congratulations Man City, they deserved to win of course. We’re disappointed because we’ve gone out.”
“Well, the results in terms of the Premier League, I think we’ve lost four matches. Newcastle away before the World Cup when we had nine players out, we lost 1-0 to Arsenal, we lost on a bad day at Brighton, and I think we lost to Man City. Those are the teams we’ve lost to and we’ve drawn against Manchester United and Brentford, so the results in a small space of time aren’t positive.
“Like I’ve said, you can make excuses and look for reasons or you can say it’s not good enough. Both of those answers are correct so we have to keep improving and stick together because clearly we’re suffering as a football club and it’s not nice at all. That’s where we’re at at the moment.”
In the away end, there were chants for Thomas Tuchel and Roman Abramovich, how hard is it to turn things around when you’ve got this atmosphere around you?
“We can’t do anything apart from do our jobs better and work harder. We understand the supporters’ frustration, that is understandable and we’ll respect that. Our job is to do our jobs, to keep working, see the situation for what it is, and of course there are always other opinions, negativity and criticism because the results haven’t been positive. That’s part of the job and the challenge.”
You’ve got injuries but were you happy with the attitude of senior players out there today?
“Yes. This opponent is probably the worst you can play when things aren’t going well because they can make it look like you’re not running or trying because their positional structure is brilliant, they use the full width of the pitch, they keep the ball and make it difficult for you to put pressure on them. In the end, it’s easy to do that but I am working with the players and am not getting any sense of people with a poor attitude.
“Everyone wants to try to do better. I think there is support in the dressing room, it’s just we’re going through a bad moment and sometimes when you have these moments you need somebody to blame, something to blame, and I understand where that question comes from. But at the same time, we have to stick together and keep working.”
What’s the latest on Raheem Sterling, Christian Pulisic and there was no Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the squad today, what was the reason for that?
“Christian opened up his knee in the game the other day. We’re still sorting of analysing it but it’s going to be weeks I would say for him. Raheem had an action in the first minute of the game, a back heel that was a bit strange and felt something in his hamstring. Again we’re analysing that. Aubameyang had a tight back yesterday so was unable to travel.”
Is there an idea on timescale for Sterling?
“No, not at the moment.”
What’s needed to bring those fans back who are losing faith and how confident are you that you can turn the situation around?
“It’s always challenging in the Premier League and it’s always challenging here. I understand their frustration and I understand when you look at results and the team performance today that it is far away from Manchester City. That’s clear. We have to focus on the next day, the next match.
“We play on Thursday and it’s an important game for us. We need to stay together as group, support each other, and I’m sure we will get the support of the supporters when we see good performances and results.”