Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says he would be “stupid” to think his side can challenge for the title while he has so many players out injured and ill.
The Blues conceded a 91st-minute equaliser to Brighton on Wednesday, and Reece James and Andreas Christensen joined their lengthening injury list.
Chelsea are now eight points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Asked whether their title hopes are over, an exasperated Tuchel replied: “How should we be in it?”
The German manager explained: “We have seven Covid cases. We have five or six players out for six or more weeks. How should we compete in a title race?
“Everyone else who has a full squad, everybody in training has the full power to come through this league.
“We would be stupid to think we can do it out of Covid and injuries. Just play and everybody would be stupid to do it without 23 fit players.”
Asked whether the Premier League’s integrity had been undermined as a result of the differing Covid-19 situations of each team, Tuchel continued: “This is the reality, this is where we are and we have to adapt to the demands of the situation which you are in.
“I competed very hard for the win at Brighton at home. I don’t know what I can expect from my players in terms of physicality, intensity or minutes.
“Nobody knows any more because we have never done something like this. We play trial and error and see what we can do.”
Credit: BBC SPORTS