THOMAS TUCHEL declared Chelsea’s quarter-final tie with Real Madrid to be over at the halfway point after being hit by a Karim Benzema hat-trick.
The Blues’ boss fumed at his side’s limp display which followed Saturday’s 4-1 home humiliation against Brentford.
Tuchel warned his flops that if they keep this up, they will lose at Southampton this weekend and be battered in the second leg in the Bernabeu.
But he refused to use the off-the-field uncertainty surrounding Chelsea’s ownership as an excuse for the horror show.
Asked if the tie was still alive at 3-1, the German replied: “No. Not at the moment, no, because we have to find our level again.
“It is a heavy loss, and it was one of the worst first halves that I saw from us here at Stamford Bridge.
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“I don’t know where it is, since the international break.
“The first half was a repetition against Brentford in a quarter-final of the Champions League against Real Madrid. You cannot expect a result from this kind of performance.
“We can hurt Madrid more but we were far from our level. It is very disappointing.
“If you have this goal (scored by Havertz) you have the energy back and we had in the second half I think 16 shots. You can always come back, you can equalise, you can win.
“But if you kill the game yourself after 48 minutes, it is harder and harder of course. Still we had chances to make it 3-2, which could be crucial, but not today
“When you ask about the circumstances of the ownership, I still see no differences to the last weeks, so I won’t accept it as an excuse.
“I am more worried about Southampton than about Real Madrid. That is my focus.
“If we don’t get our heads and legs straight and get our mentality right, then we won’t beat Southampton and this tie is not alive.
“If we keep on playing like this, we will lose in Southampton and then we don’t need to think about the Bernabeu – we will get hammered in the Bernabeu.”
Benzema followed up his hat-trick in the last round against Tuchel’s old side Paris Saint-Germain with a treble here,
The 34-year-old headed home two sublime first-half headers, before Kai Havertz nodded one back for the hosts.
Benzema then capitalised on a horror gaffe from Blues keeper Edouard Mendy to make it 3-1 45 seconds into the second half.
The Real hero, dubbed “the best No9 in the world” by pundit Rio Ferdinand, said: “They’re magic nights, like the other day at the Bernabeu against Paris.
“Today we came out to win, to show we’re Real Madrid. They’re very important goals.
“I’m happiest to have scored the third as I missed one in the first half and I was thinking about the chance because it’s very important to score goals.”
Carlo Ancelotti was full of praise for his star striker.
The Italian said: “Karim Benzema is getting better every day, just like wine.
“He is more of a leader every day. He feels more and more important in this squad. I think that’s what makes the difference. He knows he’s a very important player for us. He’s an example for everyone.
“Of course we have a lead but the tie is still open. We no longer have the away goals rule which is an advantage for Chelsea now. We respect Chelsea because they are a good team.
“I think Real Madrid played better but there is another game to go and anything can happen.”
Ancelotti, who won the double with Chelsea in 2010, was asked about the ownership situation at the Blues.
He replied: “I think that Chelsea will be forever in my heart, first, and I hope that they will remain one of the best teams in Europe as they did in the past years.”