At the end of a feisty and eventful Premier League clash with Leeds United at Stamford Bridge in which the Blues left it very late to secure a winner, Thomas Tuchel praised his side’s resilience in coming from behind to secure a much-needed three points.
The contest swung in both directions over the course of 90 minutes, with Mason Mount cancelling out Raphinha’s opener from the penalty spot, the first of three spot-kicks awarded and converted in the game.
Jorginho was responsible for the other two either side of Joe Gelhardt’s equaliser, the latter coming deep into stoppage time to secure a first win in three for Tuchel’s side, who remain third after Saturday victories elsewhere for Manchester City and Liverpool.
Yet the boss was more concerned about his own team’s performance, which led to a well-deserved and desperately needed win.
‘It was a very intense match and I was happy with the way we played in terms of our quality and the effort we showed,’ he said.
‘We deserved to win but of course we were a bit lucky to score a goal so late into injury time. I’m very happy because we came back twice from conceding equalisers and showing that sort of character is very impressive. We turned things around, which really pleased me.
‘I’m very happy with the players because this was a tough match and we showed great character both mentally and physically. We played just three days ago in Russia so we didn’t have much time to recover in time for this match.’
Tuchel claimed he was hopeful the team would muster one last chance in stoppage time…
‘I was confident that we could get maybe one more chance and turn things around because we played very strong in first half and showed a good reaction after their equaliser. In between, we played with a bit of fear that we had something to lose.
‘It’s always a bit of luck if you get a late goal but we conceded two of them now so maybe it was our turn. We needed this win desperately for the mood and atmosphere. I’m very happy how we got it and how we played. We have two days off now so it’s a good feeling for the boys.’
There was also words of praise for Jorginho, who played through the pain barrier again and made the difference with two penalties…
‘He’s super important. Jorgi sacrifices himself since many weeks actually. I was aware that this moment would come where he would suffer because he played a Champions League campaign with us, the Euros with Italy and all the qualifiers to the World Cup.
‘It’s not only physical effort but also mentally very demanding and then he had no pre-season and started the Super Cup game straight away so I knew we would arrive at some point in the season where he feels his body not fully fit.
‘He is aware of the situation that we miss Kovacic and N’Golo so he sacrificed himself and gives his very best every day. He spends hours and hours with the physios and medical department to get himself in the best shape possible so it was a big reward for him today because it’s not easy to score two penalties in one game.’
Toni Rudiger was also heavily involved throughout, including in a fracas after full-time…
‘He’s always important and he did not accept today to lose, which was necessary. We expected that it can be an intense match for Toni and Azpi because of the very unique style of defending. We expected to have spaces where we could drive in and it to be a very intense game. They made a lot of pressure so we had to be constantly focused in the game on defending as well as attacking.
‘You cannot have Toni as an emotional and aggressive leader on the pitch and suddenly not be involved if there are some team-mates to protect. This is 100 per cent Toni and how I observed it [the late incident] was no harm done.’