Ongoing talk regarding the takeover situation at Chelsea is having an impact on the club’s players, head coach Thomas Tuchel has admitted ahead of Saturday’s visit of Wolves.
Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale in March, shortly before being sanctioned by the United Kingdom government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The long-serving owner released a statement on Thursday denying media reports that he has backtracked on an agreement to write off a £1.5 billion debt he is owed.
A consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly is said to be close to completing the final details of a takeover ahead of the May 31 deadline.
And having struggled for consistency over the past month, with four wins from their past nine games, Tuchel accepts off-field matters are proving a distraction.
“It surely effects the team but I cannot say to which degree,” he said. “It is proven that it has an effect.
“It is important to not use it as an excuse. We accept it but there is another 100 per cent to reach and this is our level.
“There are many reasons [for the inconsistent form] and perhaps this is normal and normal is hard to accept for us.”
While Chelsea are battling to keep hold of third place, with Arsenal now just three points behind, Wolves’ hopes of European football are dwindling after losing three in a row.
The visitors, who are three points behind West Ham in the Europa Conference League spot with a game in hand, will be without COVID-hit boss Bruno Lage this weekend.
“He’s done a test, with no symptoms, and it’s come up positive,” said backroom staff member Tony Roberts.
“He’s still been out there from a distance, doing the main parts of the work. Tomorrow he isn’t going to travel, which is a shame because we need him as he’s our leader.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chelsea – Timo Werner
Werner hit a strong patch of form last month when scoring four and assisting two in the space of four matches, but he has now gone three starts without a goal involvement. The Blues have looked disjointed in an attacking sense and could really do with the likes of Werner and Kai Havertz stepping up in the closing stages of the season.
Wolves – Raul Jimenez
Jimenez has registered just six goals in 30 Premier League appearances this season, compared to 13 and 17 goals respectively in the previous two campaigns. The Mexico international was left out of the starting line-up against Brighton and Hove Albion last week, though with others failing to impress he may well return here.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The last two Premier League games between Chelsea and Wolves have finished goalless – the Blues have never had three consecutive 0-0 draws against an opponent in their league history.
– Wolves are winless in their last eight away league games against Chelsea (D3 L5), since a 2-1 win in March 1979. Wolves have also failed to score in six of these eight visits to Stamford Bridge.
– The visitors have lost four of their past six Premier League games in London (W2), as many as they had in their previous 20 top-flight visits to the capital (W8 D8).
– Chelsea have lost three of their last six Premier League games (W2 D1), as many as they had in their first 28 this season (W17 D8).
– Wolves have lost each of their last three Premier League games by an aggregate score of 5-0. They have not lost four consecutive league games without scoring a single goal since March-April 1970 in the top flight.