Thomas Tuchel did drag his Chelsea squad in for extra training the day after they blew a two-goal lead at home to Wolves, GOAL can confirm, but the Blues have denied that Marcos Alonso was involved in any bust-up.
Top-four hopefuls from Stamford Bridge appeared to be cruising to three much-needed points in their latest outing after seeing Romelu Lukaku – who was returned to their starting XI after recent questions of his form – net twice in the space of as many minutes shortly before the hour mark.
A late capitulation saw a winless run extended to three games, though, as Francisco Trincao snatched a lifeline for Wolves and Conor Coady netted a 97th-minute equaliser.
Why were Chelsea hauled in for extra training?
Demanding German tactician Tuchel was less than impressed with the efforts of his side as they allowed London rivals Arsenal to close to within a point of their third-placed standing, with Tottenham only five points adrift of the Blues.
He did request that all players report to Chelsea’s training base at Cobham on Sunday for a team meeting, with a scheduled day off being cancelled.
Those players that were involved in a 2-2 draw with Wolves were asked to carry out gym work, while those that made the bench or were left out of the matchday squad entirely underwent an extra session on the field.
It was, however, a meeting in which an untimely dip in form was discussed that became the main focus of the day – with Chelsea readying themselves for an FA Cup final date with Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday.
The Blues need to raise their game for that contest, but have already taken in 59 games this season across all competitions and are in danger of allowing fatigue to set in.
Subequently, Tuchel responding to these reports, insisting it wasn't a punishment but that he thought this would be the best way to get over letting an important lead slip.
“Yeah, we came in," he admitted. "We planned a free day but after the disappointment it was not even to punish them. It was normally a free day and maybe some felt it was a punishment. It wasn’t.
"It was not the moment for a free day, it is better to be together and talk about it than to go and everybody has his own opinion, own truth. You have more risk to be in fragments than to be here. We did very light training, had a run together and discussed things, how to approach the next days.
"We brought everybody together to have the chance to be together. A lot of players supported the Under-23’s on the other pitch which was very nice. That’s what we are. Very supportive, open minded group of players. That’s what it felt like on Sunday.
"That’s what the Sunday morning was for, not to punish them or do a video session and show the mistakes or behaviour we could have done better. It was just to be together and not in different groups away from each other on a free day. That’s why we put everybody in.”
Was Marcos Alonso involved in a bust-up?
There were suggestions on the back of a disappointing outing against Wolves that Spanish defender Alonso was involved in a heated exchange with Tuchel after being replaced by Saul Niguez at half-time.
GOAL has learned that was not the case, with the buccaneering left-back in line to figure against Leeds on Wednesday.
Tuchel offered no indication on the back of the Blues’ last outing that he had any issue with Alonso, with a tactical tweak made during the interval intended to make his side tighter at the back.
He told the club’s official website when asked about his changes at the break: “Marcos was not injured, it was just a decision we made.
“Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta] had a yellow card and he was very active in the first half but he was too offensive. He took too many risks there and sometimes we only had Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] as the spare player in the two v twos and that’s why we changed. Azpi had a yellow card and we wanted the runs from him in the second half.”
Adding about the supposed bust up several days later: "It started and ended in the first half [on the pitch]. It was not continued at half-time. Nothing else. Things are solved. That happens.”