Having seen his team lose his first FA Cup final, Thomas Tuchel highlighted a degree of misfortune as contributory to the 1-0 defeat, as well as a quality strike for Leicester’s goal and a first-class save that prevented Mason Mount scoring late on.
Looking at the Chelsea performance part by part, our head coach had no big complaints overall although there were aspects of the attacking play which could have been executed better. But he began by lamenting the Blues’ luck at Wembley.‘Of course we're disappointed but we're not angry, not with our performance and not with our boys,’ Tuchel said.‘I think this performance in this game is enough to win. Today we were simply unlucky, we've never hidden the fact you need luck to win at this level. All the time you needed a certain momentum, you need some little details and decision-making.‘We defended very well,’ he continued. ‘We were very aggressive on the counter press, we defended high up the pitch, did not allow any counter-chances for one of the most dangerous counter-attacking teams in Europe, and we did not allow any half-chances or any chances.‘I was absolutely happy with the work-rate and intensity. But some decision-making in the first half was a bit too hectic, we went too straight up front.
‘We wanted to force the solution too fast, we had some unnecessary ball loses and some imprecise decision-making, because we created some two-against-two and three-against-three situations that were more promising than what we made of them.‘We made a chance for Azpilicueta in first half, maybe the biggest chance in the whole game. In the second half we controlled the match even higher and completely in the opponents’ half.
‘We then conceded the goal out of nothing. It's a fantastic goal but it's a lucky one of course and then there was a big chance for Mason and a fantastic save by Schmeichel, and then an offside goal which was very close.‘When you are in a final you cannot guarantee that you end up with a trophy. I think we would have deserved to win but it's okay, we need to accept we were unlucky today.’
Chelsea’s defence was altered from usual with Reece James playing in the back-three. Tuchel explained why.
Reece and Azpi changed positions because we knew about the favourite position for Jamie Vardy to counter-attack in the transition game. We wanted to have Reece’s power, acceleration and top speed against him to eliminate this threat today. We wanted to have Azpi a bit higher because with his experience and his character, he takes a bit more risk than Reece in the last line.
‘If Azpi could have scored the first goal and it was not deflected before it reached him it would have been a great decision.’
Tuchel was also asked if the ball had been handled in the build-up to Youri Tielemans' outstanding strike.
He explained that he had not seen it but his assistant and his players who had seen it on a screen said the Leicester player had done so.
‘There was also a handball against Arsenal on the goal-line against us, and VAR did not interfere,’ he pointed out. ‘But I'm not an expert honestly on handball anymore. I don't absolutely know when it's hand and when not. So you need a bit of luck in these decisions but I didn't see it so I cannot comment and give my opinion.’