Chelsea’s levels of expectation will not drop as the Blues look to bounce back from successive defeats, insists Thomas Tuchel.
A 1-0 defeat to Manchester City last weekend was followed by a 1-0 loss to Juventus in the Champions League in midweek.
Chelsea welcome winless Southampton to Stamford Bridge on Saturday, and Tuchel explained his squad are determined to get back on the winning trail.
“We have not trained a lot. We used the days off instead for recovery,” Tuchel told a news conference. “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.”
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, meanwhile, seemed to try and up the pressure on Chelsea.
“For them it’s a very important game now, they’ve lost twice. It’s very unusual for them,” he said.
“We go there, like every season, with a lot of respect but also believing in what we are doing. We want to create another positive result in this ground. We always feel good there. Most of the time, it has been very good games. You don’t have to speak about the quality of the opponent, we know this. We need a similar performance like the one against City.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chelsea – Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku has scored nine goals in his 12 Premier League games against Southampton, against no side has he netted more in the competition (also nine vs West Ham).
Southampton – Oriol Romeu
Romeu will be eager to shine against his old club. A more defensive midfielder by trade, he created two chances in Southampton’s defeat to Wolves last time out.
KEY OPTA FACTS
Adam Armstrong has had more shots than any other Southampton player in the Premier League this season (19). With six chances created on top of this, he’s been involved in 33 per cent of Saints ‘total attempts so far this term (25/75).
No side has scored more first-half goals than Chelsea in the Premier League this season (six, level with Liverpool). However, Southampton are one of just two sides (along with Manchester City) yet to concede before half-time in the competition this term, with all seven goals against them coming in the second half.
Chelsea are over-performing their expected goals total more than any other Premier League side this season, with the Blues scoring 12 goals compared to an xG of 8.4 (3.6 difference). Southampton meanwhile are one of the more under-performing sides in this regard (-3.1 – 4 goals, 7.1 xG).
Southampton have failed to score in five of their last eight league games, including each of the last three in a row. Saints have had seven separate runs of failing to score in 4+ consecutive Premier League games, most recently a run of five in October 2018.
Chelsea are winless in their last three league games against Southampton (D2 L1), last having a longer winless run against them between October 1990 and December 1993 (seven games).