Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel shrugged off his side’s unconvincing display in their 1-0 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday, blaming the upheaval that came with winning the World Club Cup final in Abu Dhabi last weekend.
“We came from 30 degrees heat and had six players with a cold from the air conditioning on the plane, guys coming from the jet lag that they had in Abu Dhabi,” Tuchel said.
“There was no player who slept well in Abu Dhabi because of the temperature and the time difference.”
Chelsea had not played in the Premier League for nearly a month before Saturday’s London derby and they fell further behind Premier League pace-setters Manchester City and Liverpool while in the Gulf where they were crowned champions.
Tuchel dismissed suggestions that his players had had lots of time to get back into the swing of the Premier League.
“If you think we had a normal week to prepare I can just tell you it is not like this. We try to survive at the moment and you can see it,” he said. “There is a lot of pressure going on if you go to the Club World Cup and if you want to win it.
“It’s a huge, strange mix of a lot of reasons why I personally did not over-expect today, performance-wise,” the German said.
Chelsea will host Ligue 1 side Lille in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday before taking on Liverpool in the League Cup final next weekend.
“I know that we can play better, I know that we want to play better,” Tuchel said.