Thomas Tuchel acknowledged an impressive showing from his Chelsea players at Old Trafford and could only express disappointment we were not more precise in front of goal.
The Blues dominated for vast swathes of our meeting with Manchester United on Thursday evening but had to settle for a point after Cristiano Ronaldo swiftly cancelled out Marcos Alonso’s opener on the hour.
There was no question Chelsea were the superior side on the night but when asked for his verdict, Tuchel admitted to mixed emotions.
‘I’m a little bit frustrated,’ the boss said.
‘We were very strong on and off the ball. Very dominant. A lot of ball wins, a lot of deliveries, a lot of half-chances, a lot space around the box, but unfortunately we lacked precision and determination in the box to finish it off.
‘When we had it [the lead], we gave it away it one minute later, so it started all over again, but the reaction was good. I’m very happy with the performance. It was a huge team effort and we showed what it needs to win in a big stadium on a big stage, on a focus level, on a physical input level.
‘We were very fluid, very confident. I was happy with the way we played. We found enough moments for acceleration to take more advantage. It felt like a little bit was missing in the last 16 yards of the field to be more decisive earlier.
‘Sometimes days like this happen, but it’s on us to learn from it. To win on stages like this, you have to be clinical to get the rewards. It was a huge team effort with a lot of quality but unfortunately, we don’t have what we deserve.’
Tuchel was asked whether our lack of efficiency in the final third was the main reason we have fallen behind Liverpool and Manchester City in the league this season.
‘I don’t think so,’ he replied. ‘When I see the way Reece James played and know we missed him for 12 weeks, then I’m very impressed we are still in the top three, so close to another Champions League semi-final, and in two cup finals. You saw the quality that was missing.
‘Today Mateo Kovacic was missing, same with Ben Chilwell, and this is the story of this season. The big difference is Man City and Liverpool have full squads available, and we have struggled through the season, Covid period, long-term injuries, and this is more decisive than anything.’
Kai Havertz had several good chances to put us ahead in the first half, and Tuchel explained what the German must do to return to his top level in front of goal.
‘He needs to fight back into his shape. Hopefully he shows a reaction. The guys are still young up front. We will not start pointing fingers because lately they have been very composed and efficient. Against Southampton and the win in Bernabeu we took our chances very well.
‘When we look at the data, we see a huge amount of sprints and intensity from Kai, and Timo as well. They don’t arrive fully fresh at the moment, and that’s why we will always protect them. We demand a lot off the ball, but I agree in the last weeks he had the form that would have put this game to bed.’