After being considered the favourites to challenge Manchester City’s dominance this term, they now sit 12 points adrift of the champions, having played a game more.
And with their title hopes now in tatters, Kepa admits Chelsea are in a fight to secure a place in the top four, with London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham both closing in.
The pressure could really mount on Tuchel if Spurs secure a win at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Despite Chelsea still competing on all fronts, Kepa has revealed the concerns regarding their league form.
He said: “We are honest. We are in good positions in all the competitions - we are in the Champions League, we have the League Cup Final and the Club World Cup - but in the Premier League we have dropped points in the last month.
“We have to get back to winning ways because everybody is coming. We need points because we want to be on top of the league, but we have to look at ourselves, improve and step up. We have another big game on Sunday, a London derby, and from there we go.”
Spurs are 11 points behind Chelsea, but have five games in hand ahead of tonight’s clash with Leicester. Arsenal are nine points off with three games in hand.
Adam Webster’s second-half header cost Chelsea the points last night after Hakim Ziyech had fired the European champions ahead against the run of play before the break.
Kepa added: “We are not happy of course, we dropped two points and we didn’t play well. Of course there is disappointment and frustration.”
Tuchel has watched Chelsea’s title challenge unravel over the past six weeks and is now fighting to save their season. Sunday’s game against Spurs looks crucial ahead of a two-week break.
But he revealed his fears for his players, claiming last night they were exhausted by the brutal fixture list on top of injuries and Covid cases.
He has given them a two-day rest in a desperate attempt to refresh them ahead of the visit of Tottenham.
“You can say it is an excuse or whatever, but it’s like this,” Tuchel said. “Look at our schedule, when we arrived at Man City we had the Carabao Cup in the week and they did not. Now we arrive here and they have more days to prepare and the whole week before to prepare.
“We play since November. We are the team that plays and plays and plays. We need to recharge the batteries, disconnect. This is my feeling and it’s why I give the players two days off.
“We will prepare for two days, use Friday and Saturday to prepare for Sunday because we have a game against Tottenham.”
Tuchel added: “We are so happy we have at least four days. Look at our last week and you know what we are talking about. We had three away games in seven days, and it’s not only about playing, it’s about travelling and not sleeping.
“We don’t do this for one week and then we complain. We don’t complain now either, but we just explain why the performance can look like this in the middle of January in an away game at Brighton.
“This can happen and if you tell me that this never happened before to any Chelsea team or team in the Premier League, I can only laugh because it’s happened.
“We do this since November, so we arrive in a game where we don’t reach our full potential. Welcome to reality. We can’t be surprised and we want to do more and do it better, but in the end we have to accept it.”