That didn’t look like the same Chelsea side we’ve seen from you over the last nine months. Is that a fair criticism?
“Yes, of course. Nobody can deny that. We were excellent but only in the last 20 metres of the match, not in the other 80 metres. Part of performance is to make an opponent underperform and that is what City did today. They were stronger, sharper, had more precision.
“I had a feeling we lacked belief and confidence to escape in the situations that it was possible to escape. With every mistake, we lost more confidence. This can happen. In the end, we defended our box and goal very well but we were too deep.
“Like I said, the game is so complex, you need a good performance at every level if you want to deserve a result. This was not the case today so we have to accept it and keep on going.”
Romelu Lukaku had a tough game. Was it a tactical issue or was he just stifled?
“I don’t think it’s necessary to talk about Romelu’s struggle today. When we reached Romelu the attack was already half over as there was not enough people, not enough belief and connection. So this was a team problem, not an individual problem.”
What was the plan today, was the plan always to not have possession today?
“The approach was very easy. If you want to play at this level you need everything: possession, long balls, defending, ball wins in transition. As I said, we relied on the last 20 metres and they made us defend deep.
We could not escape the pressure and then it was a case of decision making, vision, individual performance today. We were so unprecise and our decision-making was not good enough. We lacked the confidence to switch the ball to the other side.
“They are the most intensive league in the division in the opponent half but they are only ten players and there are ways to escape the pressure. We were not at our highest level, easy as that. And then we can’t expect a result.
“We played with the mentality that we had something to lose but there was nothing to lose here. After the goal there was a bit more energy, a good reaction, a lot of risks that we took and I finally had the feeling and connection that this is the mentality that you need from the start: that you take risks and accept risks.
“That was not the case today, they made us underperform and they deserved to win.”
You improved after the second-half substitutions of Kai Havertz and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, did you have enough attacking players on the pitch at the start of the match?
“We can debate endlessly and we will never have the answers. We decided on 5-3-2. I don’t think it is a matter of structure against City, it is a matter of divisions and adaption to the opponent’s spaces, where you can find the spaces.
“We tried in a 3-2 and weren’t able to have front connections in the build-up. We are in this together. We win together and I will ask the question also to myself. Was it the right shape? But I don’t think the shape is decisive to the result.”