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Tuchel gets tough behind closed doors with Chelsea stars after Stamford Bridge maulings

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Thomas Tuchel delivered some home truths to his Chelsea players in a private meeting as he got frustrations off his chest after brutal defeats to Brentford and Real Madrid.

The Chelsea boss revealed the gathering, which took place on Thursday, was not one where he encouraged the players to play any part other than listening to his point of view.

Such sessions often offer a forum for debate, but this time Tuchel aired his disappointment, pointed out where the team were going wrong, and said the players would have his support as they attempt to get back on track.

“It was not a discussion-type of a meeting yesterday. It was more like i gave my point of view,” Tuchel told a news conference on Friday. “That’s sometimes also necessary.

“We take the players’ views very seriously and often into account, but over the last two games we thought it may be necessary to give our point of view, but behind closed doors and in an atmosphere where everyone can take criticism.

“We don’t point fingers, and we don’t look for people who are guilty. We’re in this together. We needed to point out some things in our game about which we are not happy and how we could have defended better, done better.”

Chelsea were beaten 4-1 by Brentford in the Premier League last weekend, before sliding to a 3-1 defeat in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Madrid.

Hopes of retaining their title as European champions are looking slim, and Tuchel said Chelsea “lacked structure” as they fell to a Karim Benzema hat-trick.

“I felt we gave a huge opportunity away,” Tuchel said, explaining his need to address the squad.

“It’s not normal to play quarter-finals in the Champions League, and it was a huge night and a huge opportunity, and we were not at our best level. That’s why we were not only disappointed but also angry.

“For me, it’s best to express it like it is, and don’t hide. We need to stop this kind of direction as soon as possible.

Striker Romelu Lukaku could miss the trip to Southampton on Saturday with an Achilles problem, with Tuchel hoping the St Mary’s game sees third-placed Chelsea deliver a more assured display.

Chelsea have lost just one of their 13 Premier League games at St Mary’s against Southampton (W9 D3) and are unbeaten in their last eight visits since a 2-1 loss in March 2013.

Southampton have also lost their last two home Premier League matches, as many as in their previous 18 at St Mary’s (W8 D8).

Chelsea have never suffered consecutive league defeats under Tuchel, last doing so in December 2020 during Frank Lampard’s time as boss. Tuchel has managed the most Premier League matches without losing consecutive games in the history of the Premier League (48).

Tuchel hopes the team meeting will have had an empowering impact, but he said: “I don’t know if it’s a turning point. The process yesterday was to be honest with the team and to explain your reactions and why it’s like this. I think it’s necessary that the players understand it, and then they can handle it if the manager is sometimes angry.

“I had some reasons and presented my reasons. Nobody will lack support from now on, and my love and my appreciation for how they are as a group and how they are as players.”

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