Analysis

Tuchel reflects on game of two halves and isn’t getting carried away about our return to the top four

Thomas Tuchel was understandably more pleased with the first 45 minutes than the second in our win over Newcastle United, but feels he has already identified the positives and negatives from the game.

We defeated the Magpies 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to move into the Champions League qualification places, thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Timo Werner in a dominant first half.

However, it was a very different story after the break as Newcastle fought back and forced us to work hard to maintain our two goal lead.

‘I liked the first half,’ he said. ‘We played with courage and had a lot of touches in the box and a lot of shots. We managed to keep them away from our box and did not allow chances or even half-chances so I liked that a lot.

‘During the whole match, we lacked precision in the last decision and we lacked decision-making in the box. We can be more deadly, more precise and more decisive that we create even more chances of our half-chances.

‘In the second half, the first three or four minutes were more or less the picture for the whole half. We suddenly gave away two shots in the first two minutes, we lost duels, we had suddenly corners against us and I felt we had the feeling of something to lose.

‘We played too many balls back when we could escape the pressure, we did not open up or keep the advantage to put the game into the opponent’s half. The counter-attacks in the second half were not precise or clinical enough to score a third goal and finish the game.’

Tuchel says he isn't being distracted by our return to the top four, as there's plenty of work still to do...

'We will never stop pushing because there is no other way. We knew that we could be in the top four if we won today but I can only tell everyone that there is still a long way to go, there are a lot of teams very close. We have a lot of games to play, we have a lot of big teams to play, there are many points to win.

'Now, it’s important for me that we take two days off and we recover mentally and physically and then prepare 100 per cent for Southampton, because that will be the next challenge. At the moment this is our position, but what matters is our position at the end.

'When we started we were a lot of points behind Liverpool with many teams between us and fourth place. So it was clear that it was not only in our hands, that we needed also results on other pitches to close the gap. This was the situation when we started and from there on we spent not one minute thinking about the other pitches and the other teams.

'We spent every minute with the team to focus on us, to prepare matches because we play in the in the toughest league. It can be a reward now to look at the table but it cannot distract us. From Thursday on the only focus will be on how to be ready for Southampton. We worked hard for this momentum, the players worked very hard to win all these games in a row, and we will keep going.'

He feels Werner's goal could do wonders for his confidence...

'For the strikers the last per cent of confidence and belief come from goals, nothing else. But he worked hard for that. In the last game he was very decisive with the assist and winning the decisive penalty for us. Again today he has an assist, and the goal, and this is super important for him. I'm happy because he put in a lot of effort and hard work off the ball. I think it was a big relief but we saw it coming.'

Our head coach confirmed he was unhappy with the challenge which forced Tammy Abraham to limp off, but doesn't have any further news on how bad the injury is...

'There is not yet an update. It's a worry because we needed to take him off so early and after a hard tackle. So we are worried, but there is no news so far.

'We had the feeling that this was a reckless tackle. He played the ball, but for me the defender takes too much of a risk of an injury for the opponent and for me because of that it’s a foul, because it’s reckless. But I don’t like to criticise, it was just something to discuss with the fourth official.'

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