Thomas Tuchel praised the courage, patience and discipline on display from his side in victory over West Ham, while also confirming media reports that Antonio Rudiger would leave Chelsea in the summer.
The defender is out of contract in a few months and has informed the Blues boss of his likely imminent departure.
‘The media is reporting things and the situation seems to be that he leaves the club,’ said Tuchel. ‘He informed me of this some days ago in a personal talk.
‘I have the feeling that we gave everything over many months, both me personally and the club, but unfortunately we were in a position where we could not fight any more because of the sanctions and Toni has said that he will leave the club.
‘Without the sanctions we would have at least had the chance to keep fighting for him to stay but for many weeks now, our hands have been tied. I don’t know what the outcome would have been otherwise but this is his decision now. It’s not a nice one for us but we won’t take it personally.
‘It will be challenging but no matter how much I love him and how big a role he played, there will be Chelsea without Toni Rudiger and we will find solutions.’
Rudiger missed the 1-0 win against the Hammers with injury and Tuchel also provided an update on his compatriot’s condition…
‘It is a groin in one leg and the other leg a bit the hamstring. He is somebody who plays through pain anyway and is totally used to it. It’s muscle pain, not even an injury but a huge discomfort.
‘He feels insecure because he’s not used to having muscle injuries. He feels like it could happen but he wants to come back. The plan is that he’s back in training on Tuesday for Thursday [against Man United] and hopefully we can stick to the plan.
‘He has no doubts and he made no doubts about it that he will play until the end of the season with everything he has. This is what did from day one and this is what he will do until the last minute, I’m 100 per cent sure of that.’
On today’s game, Tuchel praised the patience of his players…
'Games like West Ham are very hard to have a spectacular, open game against them and full credit to them. They defend normally with eight or nine players deep around their box and they do this so disciplined that it’s very hard to find spaces to accelerate.
‘I did not expect a spectacular game in general. The first half was a bit stuck but that was a little because of the uncertainty with the latest results here at home and we grew into it. We never lost discipline or patience.
‘We understood the situations a bit better when to accelerate and we joined a bit with more courage and more players when the acceleration was there. We created more chances and got the late winner. I don’t know if there’s any other way to play against them.’
There was no issue with Jorginho’s unfortunate saved penalty…
‘If you get a late penalty and Jorgi with a perfect record for us, we all believed we had the goal that we needed. He has a certain style of shooting - when he scores what he did on 100 per cent level, it looks unbelievably cool, calm and composed.
‘When he misses a penalty, it looks like could he have done better but it’s his style and he’s right to stick to it. He’s very upset with himself and very happy that Puli turned things around.’
Finally, Tuchel had special praise for his match-winning substitute…
‘Especially in the strikers, he had this period where he was on the run and he had the confidence. He was heavily involved up front and Timo had to wait for many weeks but now things turned around a bit from the Southampton game.
‘Puli struggled since he came back from international break where he had three matches and an incredible amount of journeys and time zones to cope with. We tried to bring him back with full confidence from the bench and I’m happy with the effort today.
‘I’m very happy that he had the chance to have this huge impact together with Hakim and Romelu.’