Paul Merson has accused Thomas Tuchel of getting his team selection totally wrong against West Brom in a shocking 5-2 defeat.
Merson believes Tuchel was wrong to leave Mason Mount out of the team and believes Chelsea were punished for picking ‘too many players out of form’.
The result saw the blues slip out of the top-four, with West Ham leapfrogging them and both Liverpool and Tottenham both closing the gap.
Merson believes leaving Mason Mount out against the Baggies was a big mistake from the former PSG and Dortmund manager and he says he ‘underestimated’ the strength of the Premier League.
He thinks his selections contributed to Chelsea ‘shooting themselves in the foot’ as West Brom ran riot and he fears it could prove very costly in their attempts to qualify for the Champions League.
‘Look how much money Chelsea spent on Kai Havertz and Timo Werner and they are nowhere near as important as Mount,’ Merson wrote in his Daily Star column.
‘He’s the go-to man now, and that’s phenomenal at his age. He carries the team. The turn and shot for the goal against Porto. He knew what he was going to do before he got the ball. I think he’s top drawer.
‘And I think Thomas Tuchel was surprised by how good he was. He didn’t pick him for his first game. But he’s the first name on the teamsheet now.
‘He got left out against West Brom and look what happened. It’s not the first time I’ve seen a manager come here and underestimate this league.
‘Tuchel picked too many players out of form for that game expecting to win and they lost. Now they’re in a battle. They might look back on that at the end of the season as the point when the top-four slipped away. They shot themselves in the foot.
‘But it proves how important Mount is. He’s a team player and he gets them going. He’s been out on loan and kept going and earned his chance.’