Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has admitted that he could sense an angry response from midfielder Mason Mount after he was dropped from the starting lineup for Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Former boss Frank Lampard once joked that he used to get ‘burning eyes’ from Mount on the rare occasions that he did not start matches, and Tuchel was asked whether he saw the same from the England international after the surprise decision to leave him on the bench against City.
“Yeah, I get [the burning eyes] and this is absolutely normal,” Tuchel smiled. “But it’s still within Mason’s character of kindness and being polite and being respectful, so there is no harm in this.
“I get the eyes, I get the look. I know the look, of course. He is here to play these kinds of matches, but we were simply opting for runners. We thought we could break the line more often with Hakim [Ziyech] as a left foot on the left side and going for Christian [Pulisic] as a right side because of the arrival of Christian in the box.
“Normally, he is a bit more offensive, a bit more of a runner than Mason and we expected the spaces more behind the last line and not in front of the back four from City. So that was the decision.”
Tuchel also went on to admit that he felt Mount’s level had dropped in recent weeks and confessed that the loss of right-sided team-mates N’Golo Kante and Reece James through injury has not helped Mount or Chelsea as a whole.
“I felt Mason not in the 100% zone where he is like untouchable, which he normally almost is,” Tuchel continued. “So we took that decision and it can happen from time to time. He’s not happy about it, but it will not last long because everyone loves Mason – me included.
“Reece, N’Golo and him were so strong together. This is what we’ve been talking about [relationships on the pitch]: when you turn, you know without even looking he will come now or I will go and get the pass and he will come in, so I will be here.
“We are missing this. And I think, without asking him now, Mason is missing this. He has this genuine understanding with Reece and with Chilly [Ben Chilwell] on the other side.”