Thomas Tuchel highlighted the importance of scoring the first goal in what was a first Chelsea win at Everton since 2017, recalling when a 1-0 scoreline went the other way against Frank Lampard’s side at the end of last season.
Our head coach recalled on that occasion his side were punished for their one mistake of the game, and then could not find a way to put the ball past Jordan Pickford. Today a Jorginho penalty did beat the Everton goalie and that was the decider.
‘A win is a win is a win and of course it's very important to build now confidence, to build up belief, to build up an atmosphere,’ began Tuchel’s assessment of the game, ‘but also we must be open for improvement, open for criticism, because there are a lot of things to improve.
‘But there are also good things to take away. Chelsea have struggled to take the points here in the last seasons and we got all three with the clean sheet.
‘It was maybe not the most exciting game in the history of the Premier League,’ he admitted, ‘but seven minutes of stoppage time in first half and 10 minutes in the second half tell a story - lots of interruptions and no team could really find a rhythm.
‘Everton defended deep in the first half and we struggled with a switch of play, struggled to feel the moments for a change of speed.
‘It seemed like we did not want to do the decisive mistake so we did not take the risk but sometimes risk is needed in the last 25 metres to open a space up.
‘In the second half there was simply not enough movement and that created a lot of ball losses but at some point in the first away game you hang in and do what is necessary for the clean sheet.’
Tuchel also acknowledged that it is important for the physical level of the team to improve but he said that will come.
‘It was very important to get the opening goal,’ he continued. ‘Everton defended very deep and if you're playing against the whole block, and there's a lot of discipline and a lot of effort, it's always difficult to find the chance and you need the one-on-ones and you need the quick accelerations and the belief in your game and a bit of freedom, and they are still things to improve, but with a bit of luck and the right spirit and passion we managed to win and to start with an away win is a fantastic result.’
Tuchel confirmed Kalidou Koulibaly had left the field with cramp, nothing more, as he gave an assessment on his three new signings’ showing on Merseyside.
‘Koulibaly struggled a bit with the physicality because he came late and lacked a bit of training. Raheem was very strong, and I’m very happy with the 20 minutes from Cucurella. It was very important for us.’
He was also asked whether Marcos Alonso had asked not to be in the squad.
‘That is the case, he tries to leave and we agreed to this switch and that's why it would not have made sense to put him on the pitch today.’