After helping the team keep another clean sheet and earn a Premier League point against Manchester United, Andreas Christensen gave his assessment on the performance, the penalty appeal that dominated the post-match discussion and why we were better after the break…
Our Danish defender was in the middle of the back three once again, making his fifth start in our past six matches and impressing throughout as the Premier League’s top scorers were kept at bay by the Blues for the second time this season.
There were mixed emotions at full-time though as we failed to couple a clean sheet with a victory, those fine margins just evading us as Hakim Ziyech was kept out by David de Gea and other opportunities were spurned.
‘It was a good point but at the same time we’re frustrated to walk away without a win, especially after the second half,’ said Christensen following the final whistle.
‘We’re glad to have a clean sheet and a good point but we wanted to win.’
The 24-year-old felt the Blues made a good opening before losing control in the first half and then recovering to dominate proceedings after the restart. It was early in the second period that Ziyech was kept out by United’s Spanish stopper, while Timo Werner also went close late on, and Christensen revealed Thomas Tuchel’s tactical tweak at the break was behind the upturn in fortunes.
‘We started well in the first half and then after probably 15 minutes they took over and had most of the play,’ he explained.
‘We know they have qualities so we had to be careful how many players we put forward. We didn’t want to risk having to chase the rest of the game so it’s a difficult balance. They weren’t dangerous but they took over so we tried to change something at half-time and it worked well.
‘We got dangerous a couple of times and they had a great save but we probably deserved a goal. We felt quite good and comfortable. We had the chances but didn’t do enough to be dangerous even though it was a tough game.’
A lack of composure in possession was pinpointed as the reason why we lost control of the game before half-time, though Christensen felt the team did well to recover and reassert themselves on the contest.
‘We didn’t take care of the ball enough,’ he added. ‘Every time we got the ball, I wouldn’t say we stressed but we sometimes went forward too quick so we didn’t have the ball enough and got a lot of running done.
‘Whereas in the second half, we got better on the ball, played our game and got dangerous a couple of times.’
Christensen was in close proximity when Callum Hudson-Odoi was accused of handball in the Chelsea box midway through the first half. While there were no appeals from United’s players at the time of the incident, which saw the wing-back challenge for a ball with Mason Greenwood, the VAR advised the referee to review the footage on the pitchside monitor.
Stuart Attwell eventually decided that no further action was required but, in a tight game without goals, it proved to be a significant talking point in the post-match conversation. Yet Christensen felt, if anything, the decision should have gone in our favour.
‘I saw it and from my view it was their player that touched it with the hand,’ he claimed. ‘I don’t know why they had to check it because it was quite obvious.
‘I’m a defender so I hate that [handball] rule. If it wasn’t on purpose by either of them I think we should just leave it, especially when it’s not on goal, just in between two players not going anywhere.’
The draw ensures Chelsea remain unbeaten under Tuchel, having kept seven clean sheets in nine games under the German coach in just over a month since he took charge. Christensen believes progress is being made and that will be put to the test in the coming weeks as the tough assignments continue.
‘We’re still learning but every day it’s getting better and we get new ideas on board,’ he reflected. ‘We’re enjoying it and we’re in good form so it’s about going into every game trying not to let that form drop and to keep winning.
‘For me personally, I’m playing games back-to-back and I haven’t had that for a while so it’s great for me. We have to chase the top four together and we have to win these games to do that. Now we have three more difficult games in a row but nothing changes for us – we go into every game trying to win.’