Thomas Tuchel watched his Chelsea side establish a two-goal cushion in their Champions League quarter-final tie and reflected afterwards on what went right, while also pinpointing the areas that need to be even better…
The Blues have a 2-0 lead at the midway point of the tie after goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell, with the second leg to be played next Tuesday back in Seville. However, the scoreline fails to tell the full story of an even contest between Tuchel’s men and Porto, who had twice as many attempts on goal throughout the game.
With that in mind, the Chelsea boss was left to weigh up mixed emotions between feeling very satisfied with the result and wanting even more from the performance.
‘The result is excellent for us,’ said Tuchel shortly after the final whistle in Spain. ‘It was a tough match against a very strong Porto side. They are hard to play against, they are a proud club and an emotional team that fight hard.
‘There were moments where we suffered but this is to be expected because the circumstances are very different. This is a Champions League quarter-final and you have to suffer at times but there were also some moments in the game where we were excellent.
‘It was important to bounce back from the last match. We’ve had some excellent results together but we needed to show that we can improve from the defeat to West Brom. I was really pleased with the performance and also with the clean sheet from the guys, which is very important.’
Tuchel reported on the mood inside the Blues dressing room tonight…
‘I feel a good atmosphere in the dressing room. We are happy but not too happy. We are excited but not over-excited. We are very aware that today we made a lot of a few good attacks and we got two goals.
‘It was hard for us to create touches in the box and find the right rhythm to attack for a long time. In the second half, it was a bit more controlled but overall we escaped with a very good result. It’s a quarter-final and we have to keep on going because we know it will be necessary to have another top performance and top mentality next week.’
Mount and Chilwell were praised after netting their first European goals…
‘Mason and Ben did very well to get their goals, which were important goals for the team. Mason played a very good game, he linked up well with Reece down the right side and his goal was a very crisp and clinical strike. He deserved that because he played a good game.
‘It came in a moment where we suffered a lot, and where we felt the team was a bit too tense and not precise enough. We lacked a bit of freedom to adapt positions but the finishing was clinical and excellent from Mason. He has the quality to do this and to do it in a quarter-final is a big step for him and a big help for the team so I’m very happy for the two.
‘I was really pleased with Chilly for applying pressure and forcing the error which gave him the opportunity to score. He pushed on, finished well and scored a big away goal for us. He showed a lot of composure because it was not easy to score so late.
‘It was a very physically demanding match for Chilly so to use the mistake of the defender and then stay very calm, because he’s not used to scoring, was pretty impressive.’
Tuchel also explained his in-game changes to keep on attacking, even at 1-0…
‘I wanted to give the sign that I accepted it was a bit of a tough match for Timo and Kai today. They had not their best days and the connection between the deep seven players that we needed for the build-up and the front three was a bit lost.
‘The balls we delivered were not the best and I felt they did not play on their highest level so I wanted to have an impact from the bench because Christian [Pulisic] is in a good momentum and Oli [Giroud] waited for long and has good memories of the stadium.
‘We wanted to give the sign that we keep on going. This is the mentality in general that I like about the club and about the team, and that we want to implement.’