It was a familiar outcome for Chelsea away from home today as the Blues defended expertly and delivered a moment of quality when it mattered, settling a tight London derby and leaving Thomas Tuchel delighted with his team once again.
The boss has now gone 10 games unbeaten on the road in all competitions since arriving at Chelsea in late January. This latest victory, against a West Ham side battling for the top four, epitomised all that has been good about the Blues away from home since Tuchel came in…
‘It is a very significant win because it is so difficult to win here,’ began the boss in his analysis of a vital win.
‘I saw us very strong in the first half, very concentrated. You have to be so patient and aggressive at the same time, because they invite you to come into their half and have ball possession, but once you lose the ball they can punish you at any second with counter-attacks and set-pieces.
‘We did not allow that in the first half. We controlled the game. We had excellent counter-pressing and closed the space for counter-attacks very bravely. I’m very happy about that.
‘We were a bit too passive and deep for 15 minutes in the second half, and we instantly suffered from their quality and physicality, but overall it is a big strength of ours not to concede chances or big chances. The team effort is huge.
‘After 15 minutes of the second half we got control back in the game and had chances to give us a two-goal cushion. If it stays 1-0 it’s always tough until the end, but I felt our team very focused and very strong. It is the best way to arrive into another massive match in the Champions League.’
Timo Werner scored the only goal shortly before half-time
‘He needs to keep on scoring and catch the moment. He is quite often involved in our goals, even in the last weeks with fouls in the penalty area, or assists like against Man City. Nothing helps more than scoring goals.
‘I felt him very strong today from the start. He was very good at distributing the ball, dropping from the number nine position and keeping the ball for us, and he had good timings in the deep runs behind the line. He was involved in many chances and half-chances.
‘It was very nice he could score. He could have had a second one for sure, and after that he lost his confidence a bit and was a bit tired, but it was a good performance from him.’
The standard has been set says Tuchel with Real Madrid around the corner
‘All the performances are a new benchmark for us. If we do it now, we want to do it on Tuesday again, and if we do it on Tuesday, we want to do it on Saturday again. This is how we approach our team, and this is how you approach high-level sports. You cannot be distracted by visions that are too far away.
‘I’m very happy with the consistency of our quality and the level we can deliver every three days. It is always a team effort. This is what we demand for Tuesday. Full focus and reach your own highest level and play on that level. This will not change.’
Tuchel also commented on the red card decision against Fabian Balbuena
‘The follow-through was a bit dangerous. On TV it looked a bit worse than it actually was. It was a harsh follow-through and they decided it was a reckless and dangerous foul. The red card was not a must but it was a decision the referee could take. It was in between, a very hard decision, but maybe not a wrong decision.’