Analysis

Tuchel delighted with ‘big reward for a top performance’

Thomas Tuchel was happy for his players after seeing them put in a great performance to win away at Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

Our head coach was especially pleased to see the players get the reward our performance deserved when Olivier Giroud's spectacular second-half goal decided the game 1-0 in our favour.

However, he also advised caution against complacency, first of all with the second leg against Atletico Madrid still to come with Mason Mount and Jorginho both suspended after picking up bookings in Bucharest, but also stressing there are some important Premier League fixtures to focus on before then.

'I’m super happy for the players and for my team that we have such a big reward for a top performance,' he said. 'It was very important that we were absolutely concentrated for all 96 minutes, that we accepted also that it is very hard to create chances, but we did all that.

'Mount and also Jorginho, we will be missing two crucial players in the next leg, that makes it not easy for us. I am very happy with the performance of everybody, that includes Mason. Again a big effort with a high intensity. Playing like this he has a big impact on our team.

'But honestly now we play Man U, Liverpool, Everton and Leeds, and we cannot get too comfortable, we cannot get lazy. These games will push us to our limits and then we will think about solutions for the second game against Atletico.'

Tuchel wasn't surprised by Giroud's acrobatic winner having seen how hard the Frenchman works to stay in shape at the training ground...

'He can be proud. If you see him on a daily basis you cannot be surprised. He is totally fit, his body is in shape, his physicality is at the top level. Mentally, he tries every day being a professional top player at this level and this is the level he needs to be. He is the guy who brings a mix of seriousness and joy in training.

'He’s always positive and it’s a big factor for the group. Whether he starts or is on the bench he has all these qualities.'

He also insisted tonight's game had nothing to do with Giroud not featuring at the weekend against Southampton, with Tuchel's selection decisions purely tactical depending on our opposition...

'We thought long about putting him in the team against Southampton. It wasn't a decision to create the possibility that Oli starts for us against Atletico. We analysed Southampton, a very aggressive team that attacks very high up the pitch. So we expected more space behind and we wanted to have more key runs.

'In the end I had only three changes, because that’s all that’s possible in our league, but I was not too happy with my choices in the game against Southampton and we missed the possibility to get more from the game.'

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