Disciplined, solid and serious. Those were three words Thomas Tuchel used to describe the Chelsea performance that overcame a committed Crystal Palace on Sunday, keeping the Blues in two competitions in the closing weeks for the season and ensuring the possibility that it can end with more silverware in his hands.

Having watched his side bounce back from Champions League elimination by reaching the second FA Cup final of his time in charge of Chelsea, and make a domestic Wembley final for the second time this season (where Liverpool will once again provide the opposition), Tuchel further analysed the Palace game, explaining that our opponents set some unanticipated tactical challenges.‘We had to take care of some things to control Crystal Palace before they started their counter-attacks and for that, we had to be very disciplined,’ he began.‘We had to close the spaces down while we tried to attack. They changed their formation today. We did not expect that so there were not the same spaces to explore that we thought we can explore.‘We played very disciplined on the ball, they were disciplined off the ball, so it was not the most exciting game maybe to watch. It was challenging for us to keep that focus and discipline up because of our very demanding schedule, we came from Madrid, so this is where the credit goes. I'm very proud that we did not lose the focus for a second.’

Tuchel explained that after half-time the players tried to find different spaces to overload the middle of the pitch, with the aim of moving the ball more easily towards the Palace penalty area.‘Minute by minute it became a bit more fluid,’ he reckoned. ‘It's one of those games where you need to convert maybe a half-chance or that one chance that you have to win it. If your opponent does that instead, you can maybe play the same game and go out with a feeling that did we do enough?‘But it was hard to do more without taking crazy risks. If you win the game, you say that was solid and focused and controlled, and there were not many other ways to play it in my opinion. So we controlled it and didn't lose focus or patience.’

Boost for Loftus-Cheek

After a keenly fought and relatively even first half, it was goals from substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount that made the difference and secured the 2-0 win in this London derby semi. Loftus-Cheek’s opener against his former loan club was a sweetly hit strike.‘Hopefully it’s a big moment for him’ said Tuchel. ‘He's normally a very calm, very quiet guy but we saw him jumping and celebrating the goal and that is good because he's the opposite of over-confident. You need to instil this confidence into his body and into his game and these are the next steps for him, that he can absolutely feel how much influence he can have, and that he shows everybody in the stadium his potential, and not only to us on the training ground.

‘Like Timo, he was involved in the three matches against Southampton, Real Madrid and today, in goals with assists and today with the opening goal, which was maybe decisive.’

Kovacic injury news

Loftus-Cheek had not started the game but came on in the first half for Mateo Kovacic, with the Croatian’s injury a rare negative from this Wembley outing.‘When Kova comes off, you know that he is in pain,’ pointed out Tuchel. ‘The ankle is swollen, it's a huge ankle right now. Let's hope but it does not look so good. Let's wait for the examination.’

Reds again

Our head coach looked further ahead to facing Liverpool once more in the final in a month’s time.‘We lost of course a final against them when we gave everything and it went until the very last penalty. We were unlucky and we want to turn things around. We were here last season in the FA Cup final and we will be here again. That means an unbelievable lot to us because it's the FA Cup, it's prestigious, the most traditional cup in the world and played at Wembley, so there are not a lot of bigger games to be part of.‘We will be well prepared because we play against one of the strongest teams in the world that have outstanding form. So it will be a tough one and we will try to make life hard for them.’