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Tuchel fumes as Real push Chelsea close to exiting Champions League

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Chelsea’s head coach Thomas Tuchel reacts during the Champions League Quarter-final first leg match. AFP

Tuchel fumes as Real push Chelsea close to exiting Champions League

Thomas Tuchel turned on Chelsea’s players as the Blues boss let his frustration pour out after their dismal 3-1 defeat against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final first leg.

Tuchel’s side are facing the end of their reign as Champions League holders following a bitter night at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Karim Benzema’s hat-trick, comprising two masterful headers and a ruthless finish after Edouard Mendy’s howler, left Tuchel conceding Chelsea have no chance of progressing to the semi-finals.

Asked if the tie was still winnable, Tuchel replied: “No. Not at the moment, no.

“Because we have to find our level back, I don’t know where it is since the international break.

“If things change, maybe, but how many clubs in worldwide football could do what we need, three goals difference? How often does this happen?”

Tuchel’s blunt admission laid bare his anger at Chelsea’s defensive miscues, wayward finishing and abject failure to match Real’s energy.

The spluttering performance was completely unrecognisable from Chelsea’s dynamic run to the Champions League title last season and, more recently, their six-game winning streak before the March international break.

Coming just five days after a humiliating 4-1 home defeat against Brentford in the Premier League – the first time they had lost to their west London neighbours since 1939 – the capitulation against Real was too much for Tuchel to take.

He barely had time to sit down for his post-match press conference before he let rip at his players.

“It was one of the worst first halves that I saw from us here at Stamford Bridge. It’s very disappointing,” he said.

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Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema (right) and Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta run for the ball during the Champions League Quarter-final first leg. AFP

“We lost shape and sharpness. I don’t really have an explanation. Before the international break we had a long winning streak and were very competitive.

“We can speak about the same defensive performance from five days ago. It is seven goals conceded. It’s alarming. Nothing has changed in our approach.”

Bayern ‘deserved’ to lose, says Nagelsmann

Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann said his team “deserved” to lose following their 1-0 loss away to Villarreal in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final Wednesday.

Arnaut Danjuma scored an early goal and Bayern were fortunate they will return to Germany not trailing by more after Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno twice went close.

“It’s a deserved defeat, we were not good,” Nagelsmann told DAZN.

“In the first half we didn’t have enough energy, we didn’t create chances for ourselves and we surrendered control.”

Moreno hit the post and then curled a long-range effort agonisingly wide after Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer miscued a clearance while well out of his goal.

“We were lucky (not to concede) from that error,” added Nagelsmann.

The defeat ended Bayern’s record run of 22 matches unbeaten away from home in the Champions League.

It was a sequence dating back to September 2017 and a 3-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain, at the time coached by current Villarreal boss Unai Emery.

“We didn’t manage to put in the performance we wanted,” said Bayern forward Thomas Mueller.

“We accept the 1-0 loss. If things had gone worse, the score could have been greater.

“We saw that Villarreal are not an opponent you can walk all over, despite what certain media were saying. We must prepare ourselves for the second leg and get our revenge.”

Six-time European champions Bayern host Villarreal in Munich on April 12. The winners of the tie will play Liverpool or Benfica in the last four.


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