Thomas Tuchel made the rather bizarre decision to blame the pitch for Arsenal’s opening goal against Chelsea on Wednesday night.
Arsenal scored four goals in a vital win over Chelsea on Wednesday night, keeping their previously-fading hopes of a top-four finish alive. The Gunners still need further wins against Manchester United and probably Spurs, but at least there’s a chance now.
From a Chelsea point of view, letting in four goals at home against an Arsenal team struggling to score was embarrassing.
After the game, Thomas Tuchel tried to deflect some of the criticism onto the playing surface.
“To say the pitch is difficult to play here, it maybe sounds like an excuse, but it is a very, very difficult pitch that we have here,” Tuchel said.
“It’s not in our favour. The ball bounces very awkwardly in front of Andreas when he wants to play this ball (for the first Arsenal goal).”
Hearing a manager blame the pitch for an incident isn’t uncommon. Mikel Arteta himself has done so on one or two occasions.
It’s not exactly a conspiracy theory to suggest that certain clubs dry out their pitch deliberately, for example, to unsettle an opponent that relies on quick and slick passing.
Against Chelsea on Wednesday night, multiple players from both teams clearly had the opposite problem, with more than a few slips.
What’s strange is to hear a manager complain about his own playing surface. Go and tell your ground staff yourself. What are Sky Sports going to do about your pitch problems?
Tuchel can add all the qualifiers he wants, it’s clear the only reason for him to bring the issue up in a press conference was as an excuse.