Thomas Tuchel admitted Chelsea rode their luck as the Premier League leaders survived a spluttering display to snatch a 2-1 win against Watford on Wednesday.
Tuchel’s side were well below their best at Vicarage Road, but Hakim Ziyech bagged the 72nd-minute winner to extend their unbeaten run to 12 games in all competitions.
Mason Mount put Chelsea ahead with his fourth goal this season in the 29th minute before Emmanuel Dennis hit a deflected equaliser two minutes before half-time.
Watford could claim they deserved at least a point after pushing Chelsea onto the back foot, both before and after a 30-minute delay while medics assisted a supporter who suffered a cardiac arrest.
“We never found the right attitude. We had big problems individually and as a team. We never felt solid,” Tuchel said.
“We missed some players. We had some players overloaded. We stole three points. We don’t have to talk around it.”
Tuchel had no qualms about pointing the finger at himself and his players for failing to match Watford’s intensity and physical approach.
“That’s not us. We were absolutely not ready for this match. I missed maybe the right approach to make my team ready,” Tuchel said.
“We did not cope with the pressure, with the long balls. It did not get better after the delay.
“The second half was a bit better. We showed the mentality to do what is necessary. I don’t want to be too harsh but I want to admit Watford played strong.
“The only thing we could do was hang in there and focus on the easy things. It was a lucky win.”
Adding to Tuchel’s problems, promising defender Trevoh Chalobah suffered a second-half injury, joining N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Reece James and Ben Chilwell on the treatment table.
“For the next game on Saturday (against West Ham), the most worried I am is about the injury for Trevoh Chalobah,” Tuchel said.
“The doctor was on the pitch 20 times today it felt like. It’s a big loss from Trev. I’m a bit worried.”
Chelsea remains one point clear of second-placed Manchester City before a tricky trip to London rivals West Ham this weekend.
“We need a lot of points if we want to stay in title race. We felt like we lost two points against Burnley and Manchester United,” Tuchel said.
“We stole a minimum two, maybe three back today. It feels like today we showed when we scored some quality.”