Edouard Mendy should have been included on the Ballon d'Or shortlist, but Thomas Tuchel hopes it does not bother the Chelsea goalkeeper. 

Senegal international Mendy kept nine clean sheets during Chelsea's triumphant Champions League campaign last season – more than any other keeper in the competition. His save percentage of 91.2 also led the way among keepers to play at least six games in the 2020-21 edition of Europe's premier club competition. 

While Chelsea team-mates Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho, N'Golo Kante and Mason Mount were named on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or, Mendy was left out. 

But he produced a display worthy of such recognition during Chelsea's 1-0 victory over Brentford on Saturday, making six saves to earn his 20th clean sheet in his 38th Premier League start. In the competition's history, only Petr Cech (26), Pepe Reina (32), Alisson (36) and Roy Carroll (37) needed fewer starts to hit that milestone. 

Tuchel believes Mendy should be in the running for the most coveted individual prize in men's football, but he is not overly concerned by his omission and does not think his keeper should be either. 

Asked if Mendy should have made the shortlist, Tuchel told a news conference: "Yes, but I'm happy and it is more important that he performs like this than he is on any list. 

"It should not, I hope it does not, bother him because it does not bother me too much and it seems like he is not influenced by that, which is a good thing. 

"I think that we could be on that list as a whole team because we won that trophy as a team and if we have five names or six names, I feel that we won it as 21 guys and everybody played his role. That's how football works. 

"Today we relied heavily on him again. He is the guy he is and everybody is so happy for him that he can help us. So everything is good." 

Mendy's best saves came in the final 20 minutes as Chelsea clung on for maximum points after Ben Chilwell's thunderous strike on the stroke of half-time.

Antonio Rudiger, who was absent for Chelsea after sustaining an injury while representing Germany during the international break, made his feelings clear about Mendy's Ballon d'Or snub on social media after the Blues' victory. 

"Someone explain why he's not nominated for the Ballon d'Or," Rudiger tweeted. "What a performance... EDOUARD MENDY." 

Ben Chilwell kept up his scoring streak but gave all the credit to Edouard Mendy after the Chelsea goalkeeper defied Brentford with a string of vital saves, securing a valuable three points. 

Chelsea's 1-0 win against their west London rivals came thanks to Chilwell's fine strike in the 45th minute, his third goal in his past three games. 

Mendy produced six saves to preserve what Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel described as "not the cleanest sheet we ever had". 

The shutout was Mendy's 20th in the Premier League from just 38 starts. In the competition's history, only Petr Cech (26), Pepe Reina (32), Alisson (36) and Roy Carroll (37) have needed fewer starts to reach 20 clean sheets, Opta said. 

"It was pretty much Hell on Earth for the last 20 minutes but we did well," Chilwell said. 

"I think we've got Edou to thank. In the last 25 minutes he was superb. He's amazing. We see it every day in training, but he's getting the credit he deserves in these sorts of games where he makes the big saves and gets us the three points in the end." 

Using Opta's expected goals on target model, Mendy can be shown to have prevented 3.5 goals this season, more than any other keeper in the Premier League. 

Chelsea lead the way in the Premier League with 19 points from eight games, just the start they were seeking as they attempt to follow up last season's Champions League triumph with a strong domestic campaign. 

Chilwell, back in favour and showing his value with two goals for Chelsea either side of a maiden strike for England against Andorra, said: "I'm happy to get on the scoresheet. Defensively it was tough today, but we showed our steel and showed how strong we are defensively." 

Tuchel told Sky Sports that Chelsea could have managed the last quarter of the game in a better way, rather than allowing Brentford to dictate the tempo. 

Brentford's Bryan Mbeumo hit the post twice in the match. He has now been denied by the frame of the goal six times in the Premier League this season – more than any club in the competition. 

"In the end, the last 20 minutes, it was suddenly a cup game. They had nothing to lose and they felt the belief and felt the momentum with the crowd," Tuchel said. 

"Suddenly it seemed like we had one player less on the field. They brought six or seven guys into the box constantly. We were not clear enough in the challenges. They played with the energy like in a cup game. We focused too much on defending. 

"I was very, very happy with the first 65 or 70 minutes. We should have maybe scored one more but it can happen – respect to Brentford in the end. 

"It was not the cleanest sheet we ever had but very, very important to get the three points, so it was up to Edou." 

Tuchel is not reading much into his team's lofty standing in the league table, given Liverpool and Manchester City are in close pursuit. 

He said: "It's better to be there than the other way round. But it's too early, and there are way too many teams that are close, so with every draw and every loss you can lose three or four positions, so it's not the main point now in October. 

"It was a late win but a deserved win today. We needed a bit of luck in the last 20 minutes but I'm happy with the energy – I can recognise us and I'm happy with the way we play." 

Romelu Lukaku is fit for Chelsea's trip to Brentford on Saturday but a frustrated Thomas Tuchel has revealed Antonio Rudiger will join fellow centre-back Thiago Silva in missing out.

Superstar striker Lukaku withdrew from Belgium duty with muscle fatigue and was a doubt for the Premier League leaders' short hop across west London.

However, Blues boss Tuchel told a pre-match news conference: "Romelu is fine, had all training sessions, he will play tomorrow."

The news was not so positive on Rudiger, though, after he came back from his time with Germany with a back issue.

Christian Pulisic remains out, while Hakim Ziyech has been struggling with headaches.

"Toni Rudiger came back injured from the national team, Christian Pulisic is still injured, we have doubts of Ziyech – he missed two sessions with a headache," Tuchel said.

Veteran centre-back Silva is also absent having featured in Brazil's 4-1 World Cup qualifying win over Uruguay on Thursday night. 

The short turnaround between that clash and Saturday's fixture is a source of frustration for Tuchel, who says the situation is one he has learned to contend with.

"He will be back in the afternoon hopefully safe from this match in Brazil," he said of Silva.

"We had our talk today about Brentford, we had our tactical talk, he missed all that. He played 90 minutes, had all that travelling, he is not available. 

"Of course, I'm not happy, but I knew before when he will come back, when he will travel. I got used to a lot of stuff in national breaks, this is how it is. Are we happy all the coaches with the games players play for their countries? No, they [are] not. Do they ask us anything? No. I knew it before.

"We speak about it during UEFA coaches meetings. The calendar, you have to accept it.

"I'm not even too frustrated about it, but I think it's too many games, too many competitions for the top players in the clubs. The game is for the players, for the spectators, and spectators want the best players on the pitch, healthy and hungry, and we cannot always provide it if you play so many games in so many competitions.

"Given we only have three [substitute] changes, unlike five in other leagues, it's a big thing we have to cope with.

"I'm actually not too frustrated, I know what's coming, I know when the next international break is coming, we try to do our best in every international break."

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel believes Jorginho is the player most deserving of this year's Ballon d'Or, but does not believe the award should be seen as hugely important.

The 29-year-old won the Champions League with the Blues and Euro 2020 with Italy last season and was handed the UEFA Men's Player of the Year prize as a result.

Midfielder Jorginho is now in contention for another individual gong after being named on the Ballon d'Or's 30-man shortlist alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.

"Jorginho really deserves to win the Ballon d'Or," Tuchel said while attending the Gazzetta festival. 

"These individual prizes, however, are not of great value on the football field, it is impossible to make a real comparison.

"Obviously, I would like it if my player wins it, because it would greatly increase the confidence he has in his own means, but for me, it is not an essential thing."

N'Golo Kante, Cesar Azpilicueta, Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku also represent Chelsea on the shortlist for the prestigious prize, and Tuchel had plenty to say about Lukaku, who returned to Stamford Bridge from Inter in August.

"I'm sorry for the Inter fans, but we have identified in him a player of personality who could also lift the pressure from the shoulders of the youngest and who would give us the opportunity to play football faster," Tuchel added. 

"He had always said he was fine with Inter and with [Antonio] Conte because he had achieved excellent results, but for him, it was important to go back to where he had played as a [young man]." 

Lukaku has made a solid start to life back in London, scoring four goals in nine appearances across all competitions in his second stint as a Chelsea player.

 

Thomas Tuchel decided against using Saul Niguez against Southampton to protect the midfielder as he continues to pay the price for a difficult debut.

Saul struggled on his only Premier League outing for Chelsea since joining from Atletico Madrid on an initial loan on transfer deadline day, lasting just 45 minutes before being hauled off against Aston Villa.

The Spain international gave away possession 10 times, misplaced seven of his 38 passes and conceded a team-high three fouls in the Blues' eventual 3-0 win.

Tuchel said at the time the 26-year-old would need time to adapt to the intensity of the English game after spending his entire senior career to date in Spain.

Saul has featured only once since, playing 76 minutes of last month's EFL Cup penalty shoot-out victory against the same opponents.

With N'Golo Kante out with coronavirus and Jorginho rested from the beginning against Southampton, Tuchel started Ruben Loftus-Cheek and brought on Ross Barkley from the bench.

Tuchel revealed on the back of the 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge that he did not feel the time was right to select Saul against an energetic Southampton side.

"He was very, very close to start," Tuchel said. "But in the end I decided against it.

"I thought to put him in another high pressing match, against an opponent pressing so high in the centre of the pitch, would it be fair to say, 'Okay now prove it and let’s see if your adaption has gone further?'

"I hesitated a little bit. He does not need to worry. Just work hard and adapt and the chances will come. We have only 11 to give a chance. I would like to see it in a positive way.

"If you turn it around of course you have eight players who we didn't trust today from the beginning. This is a reality. I cannot hide from this reality."

The 22 league starts made by box-to-box midfielder Saul last season was his lowest tally since 2014-15, a drop from 35 starts in 2019-20, 32 in 2018-19 and 35 again in 2017-18.

Thomas Tuchel claimed he has "zero understanding" of some refereeing decisions in the Premier League after Chelsea defeated Southampton 3-1 on Saturday.

The reigning European champions took the lead through Trevoh Chalobah's second top-flight strike at Stamford Bridge with just his second shot.

James Ward-Prowse then became the fourth player to score and be sent off in the Premier League for Ralph Hasenhuttl's men, who were downed by late goals from Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell.

However, it could have been a much different game if Werner's first-half strike had not been ruled out for Cesar Azpilicueta's apparent foul on Kyle Walker-Peters, and Tuchel vented his frustrations after the match.

"Everybody tells me we will go back to English football, not whistle soft touches," Tuchel said to Sky Sports on Werner's disallowed goal.

"We are here in London, it's raining, it's an intensive match and it's not even after the situation [that the goal is scored].

"There's a chance and a second chance, there’s a shot and a cross and then we score from the second cross – how is this the decisive action for the goal?

"In this situation, I have absolutely zero understanding of how you can take the goal away."

Chelsea have scored the most first-half goals in the top flight this term (seven), though they had to rely on two late strikes to seal the three points.

Despite the frustrations surrounding VAR and officiating, Tuchel was pleased for Werner, who shone alongside Romelu Lukaku up top.

"In the end he [Werner] was he was where he needs to be," Tuchel said at his post-match news conference.

"When you have a ball from Ross [Barkley], the cross from Azpi [Azpilicueta], you need to be there as a striker."

Chelsea scored twice in the final 10 minutes to down 10-man Southampton 2-1 and move top of the Premier League on Saturday.

Trevoh Chalobah headed in the opening goal after just nine minutes at Stamford Bridge before Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner both had first-half finishes disallowed.

James Ward-Prowse levelled things up from the penalty spot just after the hour-mark but his day ended abruptly as he was dismissed for a dangerous challenge on Jorginho with 13 minutes left to play.

Werner proved the late hero as he sneaked in at the back post to turn home Cesar Azpilicueta's low cross and Ben Chilwell added a late third to move the hosts two points clear at the summit.

Werner drilled the first chance of the contest into Alex McCarthy's legs but the goalkeeper was powerless to stop the opener five minutes later.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek latched onto Chilwell's corner to flick towards the back post where the unmarked Chalobah produced a simple diving header to score his second goal at home with just his second shot.

Ward-Prowse almost responded immediately for the visitors, but his half-volley angled narrowly wide before Theo Walcott inexplicably headed wide from point-blank range.

Lukaku then saw his left-footed strike ruled out for offside before Werner's headed goal was overturned for Cesar Azpilicueta's foul on Kyle Walker-Peters in the build-up.

Valentino Livramento came back to haunt his old side after the interval as he induced a foul from Chilwell to win a penalty, which Ward-Prowse duly tucked into the bottom-left corner.

Werner seemed a certainty to restore the hosts' lead but McCarthy raced out to produce an excellent stop before Ward-Prowse was sent off – after the consultation of VAR – for a reckless tackle on Jorginho.

Chelsea eventually made their numerical advantage count as Azpilicueta found space on the right to drill across for Werner to tap-in from close range.

Chilwell then added gloss to the result after Lukaku and Azpilicueta had hit the woodwork to volley home despite the best efforts of McCarthy.

Thomas Tuchel does not expect Reece James to link up with the England squad next week, joking the defender will only be able to play water polo as he is still training in the swimming pool on his return from injury.

James was included in Gareth Southgate's 23-man squad on Thursday for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Andorra and Hungary, despite sustaining an ankle injury in the first half of the Blues' 1-0 defeat to Manchester City last week.

The 21-year-old subsequently sat out the Blues' 1-0 loss to Juventus in the Champions League in midweek and will play no part in Saturday's Premier League clash with Southampton.

Southgate called up James in the hope of using him in one of England's October fixtures, but Tuchel does not believe that will be possible.

"I was a bit surprised. I understand he was selected for the [England] football team but this will not happen," Tuchel said at a pre-match news conference on Friday. "My last information is he will not go. It can only be a misunderstanding.

"When I saw it, I thought maybe Reece goes with the water polo team for England as right now he trains only in the pool."

Southgate also called up fellow injured Chelsea player Mason Mount, who has sat out the Blues' last two matches, though Tuchel is more optimistic about the midfielder's chances of playing during international break.

"Mason is in the squad [to face Southampton], Mason is back. It was not a long injury, it was a minor injury. Obviously, a given he is nominated and he's happy to be and will give everything to do his best for the England squad."

While James and Mount were called up for England duty, Ben Chilwell was overlooked by Southgate due to a lack of playing time for Chelsea this season.

The former Leicester City player made just his third appearance of the campaign as a half-time substitute against Juventus and has yet to play a single minute in the league.

"It would have been nice for him to be selected," Tuchel said. "He has his own story. But I can understand and I'm sure that he knows he has to earn it. 

"He hasn't had had many minutes. Once he plays more for us he will have the chance to get selected [for England] again."

Chelsea welcome Southampton to Stamford Bridge seeking their first win over the Saints in four attempts in the league, with this their longest winless run in this fixture since between October 1990 and December 1993 (seven games).

Tuchel's men have lost back-to-back games in all competitions, having previously gone eight without defeat to begin the campaign, but the German coach is not reading too much into the quickfire losses to heavyweights City and Juve.

"We have not trained a lot. We used the days off instead for recovery," Tuchel said. "It's been business as usual. We always demand the very best no matter if we lose or win. 

"We hate to lose. We came back strong after losing two matches last season. We need to respect the quality of our opponents. 

"We missed a little step from 90 per cent to 100 per cent but we don't need to question ourselves deeply. We played two extremes. Now we play another high pressing team. 

"Losses don't feel good. Man City made us underperform. Now it gets tougher to play away games. We will not be the last team to lose against Juve."

Romelu Lukaku has scored nine times in 12 Premier League games against Southampton – only against West Ham has he scored as many – but he enters Saturday's clash without a goal in his last four matches for Chelsea.

The Belgium international has managed just two shots on target across those four fixtures but Tuchel feels it is down to other players in the Chelsea team to step up and help out the prolific striker. 

Tuchel said: "I think that football right now is about connection. I think he has this with Mount and [Mateo] Kovacic. Everyone else lacks it a little bit.

"We need to learn and adapt and create. There will always be matches like this against Juve where there is no place to go."

Chelsea looked slow, tired and lacked freedom in their defeat to Juventus on Wednesday, according to Thomas Tuchel. 

Despite having over 70 per cent possession, the Champions League holders went down 1-0 to Juve after Federico Chiesa scored the 10 seconds into the second half at Allianz Stadium. 

It was the earliest second-half Champions League goal in Opta records and made Chiesa the first Italian to score in four successive starts in the competition for Juve since club legend Alessandro Del Piero in 1997.

The Blues managed just one shot on target – a tame first-half attempt from Romelu Lukaku – across a disappointing defeat that gave Massimiliano Allegri's side the upper hand in Group H. 

"Of course, it is impossible at this kind of level to concede a goal like this in the first seconds of the second half. When you know what's coming and you have defensive organisation like we had, it's normally at all times possible to defend it. We got punished for it," Tuchel told BT Sport. 

"I think we started not sharp enough. We had possession but in the first 12-15 minutes we could have harmed them much more, we could have been much sharper and putting the rhythm up high. 

"There were so many spaces, we could've put many more dangerous balls into their box and asked more dangerous questions. We had a lot of ball possession, we had many high recoveries. 

"We had two crucial ball losses where we almost gave goals away. You cannot have this in this level – it was without any pressure. 

"We struggled to create our own rhythm because they were so deep and passive. We struggled to find our intensity. it's not an easy thing to do to find the spaces, to know exactly where to accelerate and maybe accept ball losses but only in the last 20 metres. But we were lacking runs behind the last line. 

"We were so good yesterday in training and not good enough, not free enough today. I don't know why. It was a thing for the whole team. I felt us a bit slow, tired, mentally slow for decision-making. It's a strange one to analyse."

Chelsea have now lost each of their past five away Champions League games against Italian sides and suffered successive defeats in all competitions for just the second time during Tuchel's tenure. 

Juve appear to have finally turned a corner since Allegri's return, meanwhile. They are 10th in Serie A but now sit three points clear at the top of Group H and have won four of their past five matches. 

"Sailors always find their way out when they are in a storm," Allegri said to Prime Video. 

"It was a good match against the European champions. Technically, we could have played better, but we did not suffer a lot and missed a couple of counter-attacks. 

"Two games, six points, zero goals conceded. It's another step towards qualification – a good step forwards." 

Romelu Lukaku is being misused by Chelsea and the Blues could be the best team in Europe if they utilise him correctly, according to Antonio Conte. 

The Belgium star returned to Stamford Bridge for a club-record £97.5million fee from Inter in the close season, having scored 24 goals in 36 Serie A games during last term's title-winning campaign under Conte. 

The 28-year-old has managed four goals in seven outings in all competitions for the Blues, including the winner against Zenit in their Champions League opener. It made him only the second player to score for two English clubs on debut in the competition after Mario Balotelli. 

However, Conte believes Thomas Tuchel can get more out of his new signing to make Chelsea the best team in Europe. 

"He [Romelu Lukaku] is a very specific striker," Conte told Sky Sport Italia ahead of Chelsea's Champions League clash with Juventus on Wednesday. 

"Bringing Lukaku into the box, he is dangerous. However, when he starts from midfield, he is incredibly quick. It is very difficult to find a player who is a target man but can also run from midfield. 

"The good thing about Romelu is that he can hurt you anywhere. If you keep him far away from the penalty area, he can kill you with his pace. If you have him in the box, he has the physicality to be a target man. 

"Last season, they didn’t have a proper centre-forward, so they rotated positions, whereas Romelu is a real reference point in attack. If they can figure out how to use Lukaku, Chelsea can become the team to beat in the Champions League this season." 

Indeed, Lukaku has gone from strength to strength following his first goal for Chelsea against Arsenal in his 16th appearance for the club, nine years and 360 days after his initial debut. 

But Conte insists Lukaku, who last term became the only player in the past 15 Serie A seasons to have at least 20 goals and 10 assists in a single campaign, can offer more for Tuchel if the Blues utilise him correctly. 

"He is a generous, one who also gives you assists," Conte continued. "This is Lukaku's specific [talent], which I also see in [Erling] Haaland. 

"He still has room for technical improvement, but he has already reached very high levels. He can improve in some phases of the game, he needs to be switched on sometimes. 

"He is impressive, he is one of the most difficult forwards to face. He must always be played, but at Chelsea they have not quite understood how to use him." 

Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel has revealed N'Golo Kante will miss Wednesday's Champions League clash with Juventus after testing positive for coronavirus.

The France international made his sixth appearance of the season on Saturday when playing an hour of Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Premier League.

However, Kante has since contracted COVID-19 and will serve a period of isolation, ruling him out of the Blues' European tie with Juve and league clash with Southampton ahead of the international break.

Speaking at a pre-match news conference on Tuesday, Tuchel also confirmed Christian Pulisic, Reece James and Mason Mount will not make the trip to Turin because of injury problems.

Juventus will also be without some key players at the Allianz Stadium as Paulo Dybala and former Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata have been ruled out.

The Turin giants were in the relegation zone after picking up just two points from their first four Serie A matches, but back-to-back wins have lifted them up to 10th.

Massimiliano Allegri's side also saw off Malmo 3-0 in their opening Champions League match two weeks ago to make it 11 wins in their past 12 group-stage matches.

Despite losing Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United last month, Tuchel is still expecting a big test when Chelsea travel to Turin.

"They are so experienced and such a big club with so much Champions League experience," he said.

"They will enjoy the different competition. They have had a bit of a rough start according to their results in Serie A, but they were convincing in the Champions League.

"You never know with players that are missing. The guys who come in want to show they are reliable. We play Juventus at Juventus.

"It's a no-brainer that demands respect to the quality and tradition of the club. 

"We need to refocus and regroup and face a tough challenge with positive energy and determination to bounce back from our defeat to Manchester City."

Ronaldo scored 101 goals in 134 appearances for Juve across his three seasons at the club before returning to United, 14 of those goals coming in the Champions League.

Only six other players scored more goals in the competition than Ronaldo over that period, but Tuchel does not believe the Portuguese's surprise exit hinders Juve's chances of European success, even if they are now a weaker side.

"Time will tell, but every team without Cristiano is weaker. He shows it every time he is on the pitch, in the Premier League and in the Champions League," Tuchel said. 

"They have lost a great champion, a great personality, but you can be a great team and win things, too, even without him. 

"And they are. They have experience, talent, depth and a quality coach. They have winning DNA, the winning mentality.

"This is the first time I've played against Juventus. I will face a team of our level and these challenges make us a better team. "

Chelsea have lost each of their past four away games against Italian teams in the Champions League, with each defeat coming against a different side – including Juve in 2012-13.

The Blues scraped past Zenit 1-0 in their opening Group H match but, as reigning European champions, Tuchel accepts his side no longer enter any game as underdogs.

"It is difficult for that to be the case when you've won the title," the German coach said. "We won this competition last season when we weren't favourites.

"Now it's easy to consider ourselves as favourites and to accept that. We've won it before. We have showed all of our abilities.

"We need to play with freedom but also be realistic. The standards are high for us and hopefully the performances and results arrive step by step."

Thomas Tuchel saw his tactical switch fail as Chelsea lost 1-0 at home to Manchester City in the Premier League, and he admitted: "Maybe this is on me." 

Chelsea's unbeaten start to the season ended at Stamford Bridge, where Gabriel Jesus struck early in the second half to make the difference. 

Head coach Tuchel sent out Chelsea with three defensive midfielders and lined up Romelu Lukaku alongside Timo Werner from the start of a game for the first time in attack. 

With three centre-backs and defenders running the flanks, it meant Chelsea were found wanting when it came to creativity, as City took revenge for their defeat to Tuchel's men in May's Champions League final. 

"We lost the game and I think City deserved to win," Tuchel told BT Sport. 

"Until the goal, we were very, very strong in the last 20 metres of the field [Chelsea's defensive area], but only there unfortunately, and in the 80 metres left we were not good enough to escape pressure, to have ball possession, and not only ball possession to breathe but ball possession to switch play and to hurt them and to grow in confidence. 

"Until then, we defended very well the box and the goal, it was excellent, but this was the only part of the match. 

"The performance was not complex enough, it was overall not on our very best level, and you need your best level to push a game like this to your side." 

Chelsea had only 40 per cent of the ball, but that was also the case in the Champions League final where they made better use of their possession, showing a greater incisiveness. 

Rodri's inclusion allowed City's creative players to rampage at times, as his defensive qualities helped to shield a defence who encountered few midfield runners. 

Chelsea had goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for keeping the score down, as he pulled off two big saves to deny Jack Grealish. 

Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand, working as a television pundit at the game, described the result as "a 1-0 beating". 

"Chelsea didn't at any time look part of the game, look like a team who could get anything out of it," Ferdinand said. 

"City dominated in all areas: the intensity, the press, the possession, the chances on goal. If Mendy doesn't play today, they [Chelsea] probably concede three or four." 

Tuchel also recognised his Chelsea side got what they deserved. 

"In general, we can accept it because it was not our best game," Tuchel said of the defeat. 

"Even if we wanted to go for long balls for Romelu, it was not precise enough. I did not feel the belief that we could really escape with short balls, I did not really feel 100 per cent the belief that if we play long balls that we believe in it. 

"We lacked a little bit of freshness and energy. Maybe this is on me, maybe not the very best choices today, but OK." 

It was almost as though Thomas Tuchel was trolling Pep Guardiola, picking three defensive midfielders and two strikers. 

Guardiola had paid a high price for leaving his water carriers out of May's Champions League final battle between these teams. On Friday, he pointedly stressed he would not complain about his squad, yet also acknowledged City lacked a lethal finisher in the mould of a Romelu Lukaku. 

But this was a day when Guardiola resoundingly won the tactical battle, inflicting a first defeat of the season on Tuchel's Chelsea, ending City's sequence of three successive defeats to the men in royal blue. 

Chelsea had last enjoyed a longer run of wins against City when they strung eight together from December 2005 to March 2009, the balance of power in English football being very different in that period. 

Now City are champions of the Premier League and have been so five times in the last 10 seasons, and, A-list striker or no A-list striker, they might just pull it off again. 

Tuchel put an inordinate level of trust in the Lukaku and Timo Werner frontline combination working, as they began a game together for the first time. That smacked of cavalier coaching, an uncalled-for tactical shift in the biggest match of Chelsea's season so far, disrupting the system that last week delivered a ruthless 3-0 win at Tottenham. 

By sacrificing a midfield berth, Chelsea could not compete with City in that area, and duly the supply to Lukaku and Werner was hopelessly inadequate. 

And how did the Lukaku-Werner combination work out across the 90 minutes? Werner played one pass that found his new £97.5million team-mate, and Lukaku did not find the German with the ball at all. 

The midfields were silk and sandpaper, City with all the finesse and Chelsea the industry, but whereas City had a little snap too, with Rodri selected in the anchor role, Chelsea were woefully short of invention, utterly reliant on their full-backs pushing forward. They wanted to strong-arm their way to victory, and instead their limitations were laid bare. 

"Champions of Europe, we know what we are", sang the Chelsea fans at kick-off, followed by "Champions of Europe, you'll never sing that". 

Their songs soon fell flat. 

Guardiola left Rodri and Fernandinho out of his Champions League team, when at least one of them had played in 59 of City's 60 games up to that point of the 2020-21 season, and Chelsea got the better of a team lacking its usual steel. 

It was a decision that felt over-thought, Guardiola outwitting himself in his eagerness to surprise Chelsea. But Rodri was back here, helping to shield a defence that might have expected a busier afternoon. 

Of course N'Golo Kante started for Chelsea, after his starring role against City in that European showpiece, but did Chelsea really need both Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic alongside him, leaving Kai Havertz, goal hero of the May final in Porto, and Hakim Ziyech on the bench? No ship requires three active anchors, and their inclusion suggested Tuchel had gone overboard. 

Chelsea had just 33.3 per cent of first-half possession, and that figure was bolstered by them seeing more of the ball in the final 10 minutes, having been under 30 per cent until then. 

City had six shots to Chelsea's one by the break, and the visitors were winning 56.3 per cent of the duels, Rodri finding his man with 41 of 42 passes by the break, also winning possession seven times, more than anyone. 

Come full-time, City led 15-5 on shots, 4-0 on shots on target, Rodri had completed 74 of his 78 passes (94.9 per cent) and finished with a team-high 10 possession wins. His presence was colossal, allowing the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden to rampage. 

Guardiola said City would "do it as a group" as they aim to come up with the goals a world-class striker might score. He missed out on Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo, but in Gabriel Jesus he has a Brazil international who might just fancy showing his boss he can be a 20-goal hitman again. 

Chelsea were undone in the 53rd minute when Joao Cancelo's shot after a short-corner move only ran as far as Jesus, who turned sharply and fired, with the help of a deflection of Jorginho, into the bottom left corner. 

That was the first shot to hit the target in the match, Opta said, and there was almost a second City goal moments later when Grealish sidestepped Cesar Azpilicueta on the left and curled towards the far post, with Edouard Mendy's fingertips pushing the ball wide for a corner. 

Thiago Silva cleared off the line from Jesus, then Mendy denied Grealish late on as City pushed for the second goal they surely deserved. 

Chelsea had just 39.62 per cent of possession in the Champions League final but dominated the chances there, with an expected goals (xG) total of 1.45 to City's 0.45 reflecting their greater threat in the final third. 

Here, it was City with 1.45 xG against Chelsea's paltry 0.2, Guardiola getting one over the team who have given him plenty of anguish over the years, inflicting eight defeats, more than any other against a Pep side. 

Guardiola's players celebrated with their fans, who included Oasis' Noel Gallagher, tossing shirts into the crowd, knowing this time they and their coach had implemented a master plan. 

Gabriel Jesus scored the only goal as Manchester City beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge to move level on points with their Premier League title rivals.

City lost three times to Chelsea in the space of six weeks at the end of last season, including in the Champions League final, but Pep Guardiola finally got the better of Thomas Tuchel in Saturday's contest.

After dominating the first half without managing to test returning Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, the visitors opened the scoring eight minutes after the restart through a heavily deflected Jesus shot.

That sparked the game into life as City missed two big chances and Romelu Lukaku had a goal ruled out, though Jesus' strike proved to be the difference as top-flight champions City inflicted a first defeat of the season on European champions Chelsea.

Tuchel shifted from his usual 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2 to accommodate Timo Werner and Lukaku up top for the first time and Chelsea struggled to get going.

All City had to show for their dominance of possession in a quiet first half, though, was a sliced Jesus shot at the back post after being found by Phil Foden.

Guardiola's side picked up from where they left off in the second half and opened the scoring with the game's first attempt on target.

Joao Cancelo's long-range effort hit Jesus and the Brazil striker took over with a shot on the turn that flicked off Jorginho on its way past a wrong-footed Mendy.

Mendy pulled off a fine low save to help Jack Grealish's shot past the post and substitute Thiago Silva blocked Jesus' drive on the line as City pressed for a second.

Those missed chances almost came back to haunt City when Lukaku tapped the ball into the net at the other end, but Kai Havertz was offside in the build-up and it was ruled out.

Chelsea desperately went in search of a leveller, yet the best of the remaining opportunities fell to City's Grealish, the midfielder again denied by Mendy when through on goal.

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