Thomas Tuchel did not wish to say if today’s 4-1 victory at Crystal Palace was the best performance he has seen his Blues side deliver, but what he could comment on were the reasons for our emphatic success at Selhurst Park.
Chelsea were commanding right from the first whistle and quickly established a two-goal lead through Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic. Kurt Zouma added a third on the half-hour and we might even have extended our lead before Christian Benteke notched for the home side midway through the second half.
The Blues continued to create plenty and a fourth goal was forthcoming, Pulisic the man in the right place to slide home his second of a very satisfying day in which our attacking play hit top gear.
‘We had very good performances against Tottenham, Everton, Atletico, Liverpool, so I don’t know if this was our best,’ said Tuchel afterwards. ‘I don’t see it like this, but it was a very good performance.
‘It always depends on the momentum of the game and the opponent, and we were very strong, very hungry and aggressive, with and without the ball.
‘I am happy with the way we played in possession and the positions we found to accelerate the match. I am happy with the defensive performance in the opponents’ half, especially first half.
‘We were very strong with ball recoveries, so overall it was a well-deserved win with a strong performance that should improve our self-confidence.’
Havertz scored his first league goal since October
‘He has quality. He needs to show his quality, it’s as easy as that. Kai will never be our emotional leader and we don’t expect that from him. We expect him to show his quality.
‘He needs to be in high positions, either half positions or the number nine position. This is not a big difference for me.
‘Honestly he needed to show he could do better, that was a personal challenge for him. He got a second chance to show up after Porto and he did that. There is still room to improve in finishing, he can be more ruthless, he should have scored more, but it was a good step and a good performance.’
It was the first time we have scored more than two goals under Tuchel
‘It was clearly the performance where we created the most chances, the most touches in the opposition box, and scored the most, but you cannot compare it to Champions League matches or a game at Liverpool. But I’m happy with what we played today.
'I feel it is very difficult to score in the Premier League in any match. We did a great job offensively as a team. But it is a complex game, you cannot divide matches into offense and defence.
'While we were attacking we were closing the spaces. We did not allow Crystal Palace to escape the pressure, we had high ball recoveries, we were very brave in pushing up the pitch while we were attacking.
‘The message we give is clear. We defend together and attack together. Nothing changes in that message. We are very happy we could create a lot but against Porto we start from scratch.’
Despite playing in Spain on Wednesday we were unrelenting in our pressure
‘I am very happy with all the energy levels. Now is the moment to fight for your place. If you have a place in the squad, fight to be on the pitch. If you have a place on the pitch, fight to stay on the pitch.
‘This is not the moment for big changes or to try things. There were not a lot of changes today, we are in the race for the top four and we don’t judge games as more important than any other.
‘We go step by step which is easier to say than do, but today we were absolutely focused and this is what I demanded.
‘I absolutely want that in our DNA we have a high work-rate and high intensity and we are tired after matches. This is how it should be when you play for Chelsea.’