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.”