Thomas Tuchel has conceded Chelsea face a “huge disadvantage” in the Premier League title race next season as he predicts Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur will be in the mix for top-flight glory.
The Blues concluded 2021/22 with a 2-1 win over Watford at Stamford Bridge on the final day, placing comfortably in third and securing Champions League football in the process, but it’s a long cry from the title challenge many were expecting of them at the start of the season.
The European champions were looking good value to compete with Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League trophy in autumn, but just tailed off in the second half of the campaign, though Tuchel was able to confirm a third-placed finish amid the backdrop of ownership uncertainty.
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With Chelsea still unable to make transfers until Todd Boehly completes his purchase of the club from Roman Abramovich, Tuchel has admitted his plans for the summer have been kept on ice, which has already put Chelsea at a “huge disadvantage” ahead of next season.
“There is no need to make excuses now, it is just the situation we are in and we have to be as quick as possible,” he said.
“Right now, of course, it is unsatisfying because our hands are tied and we cannot act as we want.
“We have clear ideas for the profiles and characteristic of these players (we want to sign). It is not like you put a name on the list and then you get the player.
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“You have to convince the player, you have to speak to other clubs and convince yourself this is the player. There is normally a lot of work and it will be the same to be competitive next season, while everybody else tries to close the gap to us.
“The two top teams are what they are – a benchmark of consistency. This is the situation and from there we do our very best to be competitive because this is what we want to be.”
The Chelsea boss went on to add that Man Utd will once again emerge as a front-runner for the Premier League title following the appointment of Erik ten Hag, while Tottenham will also be up there in what is set to be Antonio Conte’s first full season in north London.
“It will be a super tough race,” Tuchel added. “Manchester United will be in the race, Tottenham will be in the race with Antonio Conte for sure.
|Man United odds (2022-23 season)||Sky Bet|
|Premier League winner||33/1|
|Finish in the top four||6/4|
|Top half finish||1/50|
|Bottom half finish||12/1|
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“We want to stay in the race and Liverpool and Man City do everything to make their squads bigger and they set the standard so high. This is the challenge in which we compete. We have in the moment a huge disadvantage.
“If you look at the last year we have only been in the top three, this is very good, and there is always room for improvement.“The level of consistency from City and Liverpool was too much for us, it was too high.
“It will not get easier to close this gap, because while we are forced to be passive they are improving their squads.
“But this is the challenge, and we need to be fast and smart when it’s possible to have a competitive team.”