After an insane second half at Stamford Bridge, Thomas Tuchel insisted there was no time for “crazy stuff” before Real Madrid come visiting on Wednesday.
Yet it is difficult to imagine how much more surreal this season can get for the world and European champions.
A bizarre afternoon which began with a fan protest against potential new owners ended with shambolic Chelsea making Brentford look like nailed-on Champions League winners.
And if Christian Eriksen, Bryan Mbeumo and Vitaly Janelt can run riot in SW6, what will Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr do in a major European quarter-final?
This was no fluke. Not only were Thomas Frank’s team fresher and more motivated, they had the standout individuals too.
Eriksen took his new team-mates to a different level while leaving the pedestrian Chelsea midfield behind. And Ivan Toney looked to be twice the value of £70million Kai Havertz or £97m sub Romelu Lukaku. It was a gutless display from a club without a soul.
This defeat ended a run of six six consecutive wins since Chelsea were put up for sale by oligarch Roman Abramovich.
But the Blues have prior form for such shock reversals after an international break. Nearly a year to the day, Sam Allardyce’s West Brom won 5-2 in West London before Chelsea went to Porto and won 2-0 the following midweek on the way to the title.
Instead of balance and reason, Chelsea need another equally dramatic shift in fortune against the 13-time Champions League winners. But Tuchel, who has taken PSG and Chelsea to the last two finals, said: “I will now refuse to make a drama out of it. Why should we? We do what we do.
“We don’t need special things now. We need to rely on the things and trust that we have built throughout the whole season and the whole year.
“I don’t think that we will do crazy stuff now and give crazy speeches or whatever.
“We will do what we need to do to prepare for the next match as well as possible. We need to do our stuff better, on a higher level, more committed, more mature, and we can’t lose concentration for a minute because you can get punished. It is very untypical of us.”
Antonio Rudiger’s 39-yard strike was certainly untypical and the team celebration showed the unity Tuchel has maintained in the dressing room. The cohesion in his defence was less obvious as the Bees scored four times in 37 minutes – twice through the tireless Janelt, Eriksen and sub Yoane Wissa – for their first victory at their West London rivals since 1939.
Real Madrid had their own ridiculous weekend win with Benzema scoring two penalties and missing one in their 2-1 win at Celta Vigo. But what, Tuchel was asked, would Carlo Ancelotti and the runaway Spanish league leaders make of this Chelsea collapse?
“I don’t know – it is their problem,” he said. “We deal with our problems and I don’t read too much into the results of other matches because it is proven that it has nothing to do with Wednesday’s match. It is a bit harder because we have to digest a big loss and we didn’t see it really coming and also not within the match. I did not see it coming and the players did not see it coming. So I am involved in it and I will find a way to digest it and prepare for Real Madrid and Real Madrid will do what they want to do with it.”
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