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Tuchel repeatedly blames one thing for Chelsea defeat,explains shock tactical switch deemed a ‘mistake’

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel persistently pointed the finger of blame at one specific thing, and declared that his shock tactical switch in defence deemed to be a “mistake” by one pundit was not to blame.

Chelsea fell at the final hurdle to deny Tuchel his first piece of silverware just four months after taking charge. The Blues fought tooth and nail to level the scores after a truly wonderous strike from Youri Tielemans opened the scoring.

Mason Mount thought he’d written his name in Chelsea folklore, but was to be denied by a spectacular diving stop from Kasper Schmeichel.

With minutes remaining, a would-be Chelsea equaliser was ruled out after VAR adjudged Ben Chilwell to have strayed offside during the build-up.

Speaking in his post-match press conference (via Football London), Tuchel repeatedly claimed bad luck was the main factor behind their final defeat.

“We are disappointed and not angry with our performance from the boys,” said Tuchel. “I think the performance is enough to win it.

“I think today we were unlucky and we’ve never hidden that we need to have that to win at this level. You need momentum, decision making, little details, the referee.

“I think we defended well, counter-pressed well, didn’t allow counter-attacks by one of the best counter-attacking sides in Europe.

“Our decision making in the first half was too hectic, we tried to force the solution. We created two against two and three against three situations that were more promising than we made of it.

“We had a big chance with Azpi and in the second half we controlled the game. We conceded a goal from nothing. It’s a fantastic goal and a lucky goal. We have a chance from Mason, an offside goal that was very close. We were unlucky today.

“There is no single player who never loses. Now it’s about bouncing back and showing the right mentality on Tuesday. We missed a trophy and we are sad about that. But we have another competition now.”

When asked if inexperience was an issue, the German said: “We can do better even if we are inexperienced.

“I’m not sure if it had to do with our age. We can improve there. It sticks a bit with us throughout the season: a lack of composure and precision. But nothing that holds you back from winning games. We had the issues in other games where we score.

“If we score a late goal we talk about the performance in another way: we kept calm, our workrate high, our concentration high. We did very well against Vardy and Iheanacho and I’m happy with how we defended.

“As a coach, I can’t judge just from the result and I will not start now.”

Tuchel can’t explain crucial non-handball decision

On the decision not to rule out Tielemans’ goal after the ball struck Ayoze Perez’s hand in the build-up, Tuchel added: “I didn’t see it. My assistant saw it on the screen on the bench and the players said it straight away that is was a handball. For the second time, there was a handball against Arsenal and VAR didn’t intervene.

“Today Leicester score a goal but I’m not an expert in handball. I don’t know what it’s handball now or not. So I can’t comment and give my opinion and I don’t know why it’s ok.”

Explaining the decision to surprisingly deploy Reece James at right centre-back – something BBC pundit Ian Wright deemed to be a “mistake” – the Blues boss concluded: “We changed the position because we knew about the position of Jamie Vardy. We wanted Reece’s power and acceleration to eliminate the threat. He did fantastic today. I’m very happy.

“If Azpi had scored the goal it would’ve been a great decision. It was a decision to tactical reasons and I’m very happy with how we defended in general today.”

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Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

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Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club

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Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer

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Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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