Thomas Tuchel described himself and Chelsea as “lucky” as they secured a fourth-placed Premier League finish and Champions League qualification despite losing 2-1 at Aston Villa on the final day. The west London club scraped to the outcome they wanted after Leicester imploded late on to lose 4-2 against Tottenham at the King Power Stadium.
Leicester’s failure to secure a top-four spot was described by Brendan Rodgers as a “bitter disappointment” but the manager said that made him more determined to stay to guide them higher. Liverpool finished third after beating Crystal Palace 2-0, leading Jürgen Klopp to hail their achievement in coming “from nowhere to the Champions League in five weeks”.
Leicester, needing victory to take advantage of a slip from Chelsea or Liverpool, led 2-1 only to concede three times in the final 14 minutes – the goal that turned the tide being a disastrous Kasper Schmeichel own goal.
“We are lucky that Tottenham finished the job for us,” Tuchel said. “We came to win and to put any doubts to the side but it was not possible. I knew maybe three or four minutes before our game was over because the game at Leicester was over a bit earlier.
“We prepared for the match and the target was to win and I think that, again, we are absolutely able to win this match. It is normally so, so hard to create chances and to score against Aston Villa but we created a lot – so many deliveries. We are still a young team and we try to evolve, to learn from every game, but it has been our story throughout the season.
“We have needed many clean sheets to overcome this lack of composure and precision. Today we conceded two goals from set pieces and it was hard to come back but we had enough chances to turn it around.”
The biggest blot on the day for Tuchel was the injury that forced off Édouard Mendy at half-time. The goalkeeper collided with a post as he tried and failed to keep out Bertrand Traoré’s opening goal and he is a doubt for the Champions League final against Manchester City on Saturday.
“Mendy fell into the frame of the net and he feels a big pain in his ribs,” Tuchel said. “We will have an update tomorrow with what’s going on. We will see if it is possible and, if it is possible, we will push to do everything so he is in goal on Saturday.”