A training game put on by Thomas Tuchel saw chaotic scenes ensue at Chelsea’s training camp in Ireland, which saw half the Blues squad accuse the other of cheating after losing the game.
Tuchel split his pre-season Chelsea squad into two and tasked his side with a heading game which saw each player in turn throw a ball to a team-mate to score with a header, before rushing in goal to stop the other team’s identical effort. The winning team was the first team to score five goals.
The losing group – which included the likes of first-team stars Tammy Abraham and Davide Zappacosta – accused the other team of making up their total and asked Tuchel to check the amount of goals they scored using the cameramen filming the game.
When Abraham and Co were confirmed as the losers, the Chelsea striker, who has been linked with a move away to Arsenal this summer, accused the opposition team of cheating and called the defeat a ‘disgrace’.
The forward and his team-mates forced to sing either Backstreet Boys or the Spice Girls at the team dinner later that night.
The winning team included the likes of Marcos Alonso, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Connor Gallagher, Hakim Ziyech, Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Danny Drinkwater.
Before the training game, Tuchel set out the rules before stating: ‘What we’re doing is loser team performs Backstreet Boys… before dinner today.’
Describing the fierce training game, Loftus-Cheek told the club’s official website: ‘The first to five won and the other team to mine won the first round, fair enough. Then we won the other round so it was all-square, so the next game wins it.
‘I was sure we then scored five, I was counting, but others said that was a mistake and apparently we did not score five.
‘Cal (Hudson-Odoi) said he was not sure, and he did not really celebrate, but the rest of us all went off celebrating before it was hold on, hold on, let’s have a VAR check.
‘When it went to VAR and they said it was five, we went nuts!’
The Blues arrived in Ireland for a week-long pre-season training camp on Tuesday, which will see the Chelsea stars embark on an intense regime put on by Tuchel before playing a friendly against Bournemouth on July 27.
However, the Champions League winners went off without several of their first-team stars who are still on holiday following their Euro 2020 and Copa America exploits.
Chelsea had 17 stars competing at the Euros this summer – more than any other Premier League squad – with the list of players including finalists Mason Mount, Jorginho, Emerson Palmieri, Reece James and Ben Chilwell.
Meanwhile, defender Thiago Silva is also absent from the training squad to Ireland after he reached the Copa America final with Brazil, who lost the match 1-0 to Argentina on July 10.
The several absences mean many young players and forgotten first-team stars such as Barkley, Loftus-Cheek and Drinkwater will play a significant role in the club’s pre-season matches.