Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel admitted his side were fortunate to emerge with a 2-1 victory at Watford that kept them top of the Premier League on Wednesday.
With six changes to the side held at home by Manchester United at the weekend, Chelsea never got into their stride but goals by Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech sealed the points.
Both came from well-worked moves, although they were an exception to the rule on a night when struggling Watford could easily have earned at least a point.
“We were lucky. We should admit it. Today we could not reach this level. We were not ready for this game. We are to blame. We never found the right attitude,” Tuchel said.
“It got better in the second half. We conceded a lot of chances in the first half and didn’t create much. The two situations we had, we scored. We were lucky to escape with the win.”
Tuchel accepted some of the blame for his team’s approach.
“It felt like we were not ready for the long balls, the pressure. When we won the ball, how to escape out of the pressure. We had big problems individually and as a team. We never felt solid, it felt like we were never in control.”
When the dust settles, however, Tuchel might look back on Wednesday as a vital victory in his attempt to keep ahead of Manchester City and Liverpool in the title race.
“We need a lot of points if we want to stay in the title race,” Tuchel said. “We felt like we lost two points against Burnley and Manchester United.
“We stole minimum two, maybe three back today. Watford deserved more today.”
With another big game at West Ham United on Saturday, Tuchel has an injury worry over Reece James who missed the trip to Watford. “I cannot say today. Yesterday he was in too much pain to travel. He got a kick on the ankle,” Tuchel said.