Thomas Tuchel was pleased with large aspects of our 1-1 draw away to Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals, but believes we were unlucky not to take the win.
We hold a narrow advantage ahead of the second leg, thanks to the fine Christian Pulisic away goal which opened the scoring at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano as we made a flying start to the tie in the first half.
However, our head coach believes that with a little more composure, and slightly fresher legs after our punishing schedule of fixtures, that advantage could have been even bigger given our dominance for large spells of the match in Spain.
'We played a very strong first half, we should have won the first half,' he said. 'Unfortunately we were a bit unlucky and lacked composure and precision in the decision making in the opponents box, but we were very strong in the first half. Unfortunately we conceded a goal from a set-piece, otherwise we defended very strong throughout the whole match.
'I have the feeling that we should have won the first half, that we deserved to win the first half, and that we could have maybe decided this match very early, in the first half-an-hour when we were playing very strong. The second half was a bit of a tactical match and you could feel that we only had two days in-between two away games. Both games were very demanding physically and mentally, so you could feel in the decision making and some ball losses and the acceleration, that we suffered from that today. One more day would have been great for us but it was not like this.
'Now it’s the challenge to, first of all enjoy a free day for the group, and then forget this result, stay focused on the next challenges, go step-by-step, and next week we have to face another challenge against Real Madrid. It will be a tough one because it is the Champions League semi-final, nothing is sure. Even if we had a win here, everything is possible, it’s half-time, and we will need to fight for every centimetre and every advantage that we want to have.'
Tuchel explained why fatigue may have been a factor in us not scoring more goals, but underlined that he was pleased with how the attacking players contributed to the overall performance...
'We defend together as a team. The strikers have their part. You see tonight that we always defend as a block, we always defend with 11 people.
'The strikers are the first guys who want to score and want to be decisive and want to do it for themselves and of course for the team. This is the highest level and sometimes if you have such a good half-an-hour, like we had, and so many chances and half-chances, everybody wishes for more composure and more precision in the decision making, and efficient finishing itself. It was not like this, so the challenge was more to not worry too long or regret too long and to not lose confidence.
'We did this in the second half, we defended very well, but we suffered physically because we had only two days in-between. So it was quite demanding and tonight you could feel this towards the end of the game.'
He also discussed Timo Werner's mixed fortunes in front of goal after the striker couldn't add to the goal he scored at the weekend, despite having arguably our best chance of the game tonight...
'He missed a big one at West Ham, he missed another big one here. That does not help, but it also does not help to cry about it or to regret it all the time. There are millions of people who have harder things to deal with than chances that you miss.
'This is the good thing about sports, nobody cares tomorrow. Tonight we were sad, we were angry in the moment, this is normal. He is angry, he is maybe disappointed. Tomorrow he has a free day and the next day he needs to put his chin up. He is a professional guy, he is a top guy. He works hard, he is in the positions and from there on we go.
'We will never stop pushing, we will never stop believing and I have the feeling that everybody accepts the situation like it is. For a striker it’s easy to deal with, you score in the next game and nobody speaks about it anymore.'
Our head coach insisted only minor changes were needed to adapt our game plan to Real Madrid's switch to a back three...
'We knew that they finished the last game and the game against Barcelona in a 5-3-2. We knew that there was the possibility that maybe they would switch their formation to adapt to our formation. In the end I thought that they would stay in their 4-3-3, which they usually play for 90-95 per cent of their matches. So we prepared for a 4-3-3.
'When we saw the line-up we had a quick talk in the dressing room to slightly change the moments against the ball, like who has to do what with the two strikers and the three in the middle. We had to adapt where we could push out, but only defensively. Offensively it didn’t change much.
'We wanted to impose our style and wanted to wait for what happens on the pitch, to see if we found the spaces that we predicted, and it went pretty much like that.
'It’s like this sometimes, you have to adapt, and the team did that very well and I am happy overall with how we tried it. We gave our everything and we got a more-than-deserved 1-1, so we will try again next week.'