Thomas Tuchel has revealed Mason Mount’s unhappiness at being omitted from Chelsea's line-up for the defeat at Manchester City.
Mount had started the previous eight Premier League matches but the German boss opted for Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic partnering Romelu Lukaku in attack for the crunch clash.
The Blues went on to lose 1-0 courtesy of Kevin De Bruyne’s fine strike to fall 13 points behind the Citizens.
Despite a toothless attacking display from Chelsea, Mount was not introduced until the 81st minute with his side already trailing.
And Tuchel opened up on the 'burning eyes' he received from the England midfielder, who will hope to regain his place for the trip to Brighton tonight.
The Chelsea boss said in his pre-match press conference: "Yeah, I got them [the burning eyes] and this is absolutely normal.
"It’s still within Mason’s character of kindness and being polite and being respectful, so there is no harm in this.
"He is here to play these kinds of matches, but we were simply opting for runners.
"I felt Mason was not like in the 100% zone, where he is untouchable, which he normally almost is. He’s not happy about it, but it will not last long because everyone loves Mason — me included."
Chelsea's title chances appear all but over following last Saturday's reverse, which leaves them needing a miracle to bridge the gap that has emerged behind Pep Guardiola's men.
But Tuchel has refused to admit defeat in the race for the crown and insists his side will not give up in their pursuit.
He added: "Maybe we have to stop focusing on our own problems and simply admit that City are in a very strong place.
"In the last 12 matches they have a 100% record. They earned what they have. Maybe it's necessary to admit this.
"The second thing to say is we will never give up. Never, never, never, until the race is over.
"I told you many weeks ago that we were in a good place because we were in the middle of the race. Maybe we're not there anymore, but we're still in the race.
"We cannot lower our ambitions because it [the gap to City] is now 13 points, we cannot. We are committed to our goals."
Chelsea will know returning to winning ways at the Amex Stadium will be a difficult task with the ninth-placed Seagulls unbeaten in their last five games in all competitions, including a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
At the heart of their impressive season is manager Graham Potter, who has recently shut down talk of him taking the vacant manager’s position at Everton.
Rafa Benitez was sacked last weekend after a 2-1 defeat to Norwich, with highly-rated Potter emerging as one of the early frontrunners to replace him.
On Benitez’s dismissal and the speculation over his own future, Potter said: "It’s not nice when somebody loses their job.
"I only met Rafa when we played Everton so I don’t know him that well but he came across as a real gentleman. I wish him well.
"I can’t comment on speculation, on things that are out there in the newspapers or wherever.
"I am focused on my job here. Repeat, very happy here with, in my opinion, one of the best-run football clubs in the Premier League, with a fantastic owner, chairman, CEO, sports director, great people at the club, a nice environment to work in, an ambitious club.
"I just get on with my job here and do my best."
Did you know?
The Blues are winless in their last three Premier League games — their longest run under Tuchel.
Chelsea have never lost in 13 league meetings with Brighton — the most they have ever played against a team without losing (10 wins and three draws).
Brighton have drawn their last two games against Chelsea, picking up more points than they had in their first 11 games against them.
The Seagulls have also managed more shots than Chelsea in each of their last three Premier League encounters.
Only the top three have lost fewer games than South Coast club’s four this campaign. They have also drawn more games than any other side this season (10).
Following their late equaliser against Crystal Palace last Friday, Brighton have scored seven goals in the final 10 minutes this campaign, with those strikes earning them seven points.
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