ARE the Blues moving forwards or backwards? It’s currently hard to tell as Tom Tuchel seems to be trying to steer Dr Doolittle’s pushmi-pullyu.

Losing to Man City at the weekend suggests that only Liverpool are now capable of catching the reigning champions, though the fact that Saturday’s defeat was (like the corresponding fixture at the Bridge) by a single goal gives Chelsea hope of being able to challenge for a European place.

“I love the hunger and I love the attitude,” said the German after the match, taking the positives from a generally good showing at the back… but a rather toothless performance up front.

The fallout from Romelu Lukaku’s unwise TV interview in December is still evident. Tuchel doesn’t fully trust his costly striker, and the support that the Belgian is getting from midfield is patchy, to put it mildly.

So while the team is pulling in two directions, is there scope for Roman Abramovich to fish in his wallet for reinforcements?

Apparently not. Tuchel is happy to nurse his Covid patients back to full fitness, rather than spend in the market. “I think we just need our whole squad; our team is a strong team, and even on Saturday it was a strong team.”

Chelsea host Spurs (yet again) this weekend, hoping to do the treble over their rivals in their third meeting in two-and-a-bit weeks. If he could talk to the animals, I wonder what the Blues’ gaffer would be saying?