Thomas Tuchel hits out at Chelsea’s ‘lack of hunger’ in aftermath of ‘surprising’ Dinamo Zagreb defeat | Football News


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Thomas Tuchel criticised Chelsea’s “huge underperformance”, saying his side lacked “hunger and intensity” as they opened their Champions League campaign with a 1-0 loss at Dinamo Zagreb.

Mislav Orsic’s early goal stunned the 2021 Champions League winners at the Maksimir Stadium, with Tuchel admitting he “didn’t see” the result coming while also lamenting his side’s “lack of determination” as they slumped to their third consecutive away loss.

Chelsea have now conceded at least once in each of their last six games across all competitions, their joint-longest run without a clean sheet since the German took charge in January 2021.

Dinamo's Mislav Orsic, left, scores his side's first goal vs Chelsea
Mislav Orsic, left, scored the only goal of the game as Zagreb triumphed 1-0 over Chelsea

“I’m angry on myself,” he said. “I’m angry on our performance. It’s not aggressive enough on the ball, it’s not enough individually or enough as a team.

“Not a lot [of players are playing at the top of their game]. It’s obvious that we’re underperforming. It’s a lack of determination. A lack of hunger and intensity. You cannot expect to win games. We are clearly nowhere near where we want to be.

“I just know that I need time to digest it and find solutions. It’s a story of the last games – we start okay. But then we lack precision. We lack the smell of blood.

“It’s clearly my job to analyse it. Clearly we need to be much better. We are not happy with our results. We are not happy with our performances. I’m a bit surprised by this performance today.

“I didn’t see it coming. Obviously I was in the wrong movie. I thought that the last game helped us, we showed a reaction against West Ham. Had good training sessions. I thought the team were prepared.

“I didn’t see it coming that’s why I know I’m angry on myself. There is no day off in the next days, don’t worry. There cannot be a day off at the moment.”

Chelsea’s remaining Champions League fixtures

September 14: Red Bull Salzburg (H) – kick-off 8pm

October 5: AC Milan (H) – kick-off 8pm

October 11: AC Milan (A) – kick-off 8pm

October 25: Red Bull Salzburg (A) – kick-off 5.45pm

November 2: Dinamo Zagreb (H) – kick-off 8pm

Zakaria can be more than Chelsea’s stop-gap signing

Sky Sports’ Adam Bate…

Chelsea’s deadline-day signing of Denis Zakaria received relatively little attention. As a loan deal with an option, it is low risk with low expectations – people remember Saul Niguez’s underwhelming season. But it would be a mistake to underestimate Zakaria.

While this is likely to be a short-term fix for Chelsea before pursuing bigger midfield targets next summer, those who have followed the player’s career closely would not be surprised if he is able to seize this opportunity to impress in the Premier League.

Zakaria’s progress has stalled but the Switzerland international is only 25. Before his brief stay at Juventus, before the injuries at Borussia Monchengladbach, he was one of Europe’s most promising midfield talents. Liverpool retained an interest this summer.

Adam Owen was part of the coaching team at Servette when Zakaria first broke through. “He was a standout even then,” Owen tells Sky Sports. “Kevin Cooper was the manager who gave him his debut at 17. He came on and that was it. He was in the team from then on.”

The talent was hard to miss. “I think everybody knew it throughout the academy. The frustration initially was that he felt he should have been playing even earlier than he was. We kept him back just because the timing had to be right.”

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