‘Chelsea need to over-perform next season’

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LONDON: Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel believes the club’s misfiring forward line must “over-perform” next season if they are to have any chance of catching Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League.

A lack of goals has contributed to Chelsea’s disappointing league campaign, with midfielder Mason Mount (11) the only player to reach double figures this season as they look set to finish third.

“If we stick to the group, then we will try to solve it with these players,” Tuchel told reporters ahead of Sunday’s final league game against Watford.

“We need to produce more numbers because the numbers from our offensive players don’t allow us to over-perform,” he said.

“I’m not pointing fingers, but we need over-performance from everybody and it’s not over-performance if we have only single figures in scoring and assisting.”

The German hinted at strengthening the attacking department in the summer but added things had been made difficult by government-imposed sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The sanctions will be lifted once the new owners, a consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly, take over after clearance from the British government and the Premier League.

“Is it necessary to bring more offensive players around the box to create more distractions, to create more space for each other? We will ask that question,” Tuchel said.

“We are late because other clubs can take players. We have to be fast and smart as soon as the sanctions are lifted… There’s a lot of work to do.”

Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick accepted partial blame for their underwhelming season but said he was unable to effectively implement his pressing style because of the physical limitations of the squad.

Rangnick took over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November but the German has failed to galvanise an ailing United, who are sixth in the league.

“I agree we never came near to that aggressive, proactive football. That has to do with physicality if we want to play like that,” Rangnick, who will be replaced by Erik ten Hag in the summer, told reporters.

“If you think of Juergen Klopp’s first season at Liverpool they did not play that kind of football, it took them one and a half seasons. In the end they finished eighth.”

Cristiano Ronaldo, who is United’s top-scorer this season with 24 goals across all competitions, has often being singled out for his lack of pressing and Rangnick said that forced him to make compromises to his playing style.

“Cristiano scored a few goals but, again, Cristiano – and I’m not blaming him at all, he did great in those games – but he’s not a pressing monster,” he added.