Zsolt Low assessed Chelsea’s performance against Al Hilal, revealed how Thomas Tuchel stayed in contact with the players and said when the boss could join up with the group after we won our Club World Cup semi-final in Abu Dhabi today.
The Blues edged past the AFC Champions League winners from Saudi Arabia courtesy of Romelu Lukaku’s first-half goal, but it needed a couple of super Kepa saves to preserve our advantage in the second period.
Chelsea men’s first team coach Low, who was deputising media duties in Tuchel’s absence, started with his verdict on the win and where the Blues can improve.
‘We worked very hard, but we missed a little bit of freedom and rhythm,’ said Low.
‘We started a little bit nervously and didn’t do the easy things. We fought hard to find a solution on the pitch, but we didn’t find it easy.
‘To get to the final of this competition is very important for the club. We have never won it and that’s why the players felt the pressure, but they did very well to not concede and we had opportunities to score a second goal.’
Tuchel was able to stay in touch with his team
‘We talked to Thomas at half-time. We had a good conversation and he had the same feeling as us that we were a bit nervous and had a lot of easy ball losses.
‘We talked about it at half-time and tried to prepare for the guys to calm down and play with a better rhythm, and not fight so hard for difficult solutions. We had a good conversation with Thomas and it helped the team.’
It remains to be seen when Tuchel can fly out to join the players
‘Everybody hopes Thomas can travel as soon as possible. He is following government rules and is in self-isolation. We do every day a PCR test and when we have the first negative result it will open the possibility for Thomas to travel.
‘We are waiting for it and we are sure he can come and he can enjoy the final.’
Low also spoke about Lukaku and Kai Havertz’s performance
‘Romelu fought very hard in the last game and he gave everything, and that’s why we gave him the chance today. He had a little bit of luck to score the goal but we are very happy and he is very happy. We hope he continues like this and scores in the final.
‘Kai Havertz had a very good week in training and that’s why we decided to let him play, to see his quality in the game. He did his job very well, he had some dangerous attacks, and he worked hard to close down space in defence. He had a good game.’