Thomas Tuchel has once again bemoaned Chelsea’s fixture schedule as his side faces a run of five matches in 22 days. The Blues head coach responded to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who also went on a rant regarding the number of matches his team has to play between now and the end of the season.
Chelsea have five fixtures scheduled between now (April 15) and May 7 (22 days), while Premier League rivals Liverpool have seven in the same period because of the Champions League semi-finals against Villarreal. This led Klopp to go on a scathing rant in his press conference on Thursday, particularly about his side having to travel to St. James’ Park to face Newcastle United in the early kick-off on Saturday, April 30, after playing Villarreal on Wednesday before.
He said: “I’ve just spoken to BT Sport and pointed out to them again that this is a c**p kick-off time. We want to play all the games that are coming up, no problem at all.
“But it doesn’t have to be that they let us play 12:30 on Saturdays and then see how it goes – for no reason. I will never understand that.”
Tuchel was asked whether he agrees with his German compatriot, and the Chelsea manager echoed what Klopp said about the fixture congestion. The Blues head coach said: “It’s very difficult, very demanding.
“We had a look right after the game at the minutes played this season – we are by far the team that played the most minutes. We added some unnecessary minutes in extra time.
“This adds up to another one and a half or two games. It is pretty demanding, but that is what you sign up for.
“I think Jurgen mentioned the 12:30pm kick-off for his team on a Saturday; we had or will have sometimes the feeling if you play on a Sunday, it could absolutely make sense to play on a Wednesday. We had sometimes the situation we needed to play on a Tuesday to make things tight to one game and a bigger gap to the other game.
“Between the schedule, that we do not complain about because it means we are in other competitions and want to have this schedule because it tells you you play for a lot, in between, there can be adjustments to make it easier to recover and take care about the players.
“It is about the players this game and taking care they don’t get injured, and we prevent them. We need simply hours to recover and not sit on the bus and plane again.
“In these details, I agree with him [Klopp]. In general, it is a stressful schedule, but we love it at the same time. The five changes will help a lot.”