Analysis

Tuchel on taking a 'big step' towards Champions League qualification and getting a 'huge boost' from the fans

Thomas Tuchel was pleased to see his team take a huge win in the top-four race against Leicester in front of our returning fans at Stamford Bridge, but warned the job isn’t done yet.

Antonio Rudiger and Jorginho fired us into third place in the Premier League table with a 2-1 win over Leicester City, during a match in which Timo Werner had two goals disallowed by VAR.

However, we put that frustration aside to secure an important three points, meaning another win over Aston Villa in our last league game on Sunday will guarantee us Champions League football next season.

While he acknowledges the importance of this result, Tuchel was quick to point out there is more work to do before we can celebrate.

‘It’s a big step, but it’s only a step,’ he said. ‘It’s not done yet, we have to push it over the line on Sunday.

‘It was a huge team effort, full of intensity, hunger and ambition. We played with a lot of quality for what was in my opinion a very deserved win.

‘But it’s not the time for celebrations, it’s not the time for praise, it’s not the time for thinking it’s more than three points. It’s actually only three points and there’s another three to get on Sunday and we have to be prepared and aware to finish the job.’

Tuchel was delighted with the boost the team received from the presence of supporters inside Stamford Bridge for the first time since he joined the club...

‘This is a completely different match, football with and without spectators. You simply can’t compare. It was amazing and exactly what we want, everybody who comes to the stadium to be happy and feel this energy from this team because this is what this team can always deliver.

‘I strongly believe that as a supporter of any club you come to the stadium for energy. You don’t come only for fancy moves and goals and outstanding individual performances. You come for the energy and it needs to be easy to support us. You need to bring the spectators to their feet and excite them. This team is doing that.

‘They have the hunger, the ambition. Sometimes we struggle with decisions, sometimes we don’t reward ourselves, but this team is always on the edge in terms of work rate and what they give. This is very important and I think it makes the supporters happy, and for that they push us and it was a huge boost.’

He hopes Kante’s first-half substitution came in time to prevent him missing any more games through injury…

'I hope that N’Golo is not injured. He told me he went off before an injury. He felt his hamstring and he was worried that he would get injured if he continued playing, so we put Kova in, which was also a huge risk, because he was only on the bench for 20 minutes when we had planned for 60 minutes before bringing him on.

'So we took some risks, but it was the moment to take risks. It was a game of the highest importance at the end of the season and I’m happy that it worked out. Hopefully N’Golo will come back. We are a different team with and without N’Golo, but we compensated very well today.'

Our head coach was pleased with the contributions of Timo Werner and Toni Rudiger, but insists it is all about the team at this crucial stage of the season...

Timo put in a very good performance and he was involved in everything, but it is his job to be involved in everything. He needs to be involved in everything again on Sunday now.

'There is no time for extra praise, now the time is to enjoy the free day and then be ready to work and be ready for Aston Villa, nothing else.

'For Toni I’m absolutely happy that he scored for us. He was again very good, very reliable, but I feel a bit uncomfortable today to praise single players and praise single players because now it’s important to stay really strong as a group and to come together as a group.

'We absolutely need to refocus on Sunday. This is not the time for celebration.'

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