Thomas Tuchel rounded off his first year in charge of Chelsea with a most welcome victory against Tottenham, our fourth of the season, and then praised the effort of his players in a tough match.
The Blues claimed our first victory in five Premier League matches courtesy of goals from Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva, which both came early in the second half.
Coupled with another clean sheet against the north Londoners, it ensured a much-needed three points and Tuchel assessed the performance afterwards by praising the relentless and patient attitude of his players.
'It was a tough match but I’m very happy because the effort was outstanding and it was a deserved win,’ he said.
‘It is so hard to create chances against them but we were relentless and kept on believing so it was a good team effort and an excellent result.’
Ziyech’s first home league goal was a beauty but Tuchel was happy not just with the Moroccan’s special strike to open the scoring…
‘It was one of the his best matches because he was very reliable and to be fair it’s maybe also his best position to have the wide position on the right wing. That position does normally not exist when we play our 3-4-3 when we have our wing-backs.
‘He was good because it gave him the opportunity to take risks where it’s possible to take risks and he was very reliable on the ball in moments where it was necessary. You can always rely on him in terms of counter-pressing and work-rate for the team so it was well done.’
On the goal, he added further praise…
'I was right behind it. I had the feeling that it was a bit too high but it dropped in the right second and it was a brilliant goal.
‘The build-up was good, the movement around Hakim to bring him into this position, the effort from Callum before the goal, the dribbling and switch of side around the opponents’ box, the overlap by Azpi and the shot was of course brilliant.
‘It was one of the very nice goals so far. I’m very happy because he deserves it first of all today and it was a very important goal to get the lead.’
There were also positive words for the performance of Romelu Lukaku…
'It was a very good team performance from him. He was absolutely reliable and put in a huge effort. It’s a bit the story of our team. I have the feeling that we work really hard off the ball and sometimes are maybe not in full confidence or a calm state of mind when it comes to the opponents’ box.
'But the effort is something we define as a benchmark and a standard for us, so he gave everything in terms of work-rate.'
Tuchel gave his thoughts on whether a four-man defence could become a permanent feature…
‘It’s one way forward. We tried a 4-1-4-1 formation today because we tried a 4-4-2 against them in the first match which gave us an advantage and then they reacted to it in the second match so we thought maybe it could be an approach to give the players a new solution.
‘It gives us more options than only to play a 3-4-3 but we don’t decide now.’
Finally, the boss highlighted the importance of going into a break with the confidence of a win…
'Now we go into a break and it was important to go into this break with a victory. There’s no doubt about it because if you don’t have the results and the performances you want, there’s no substitution for a win and that feeling.
‘You cannot produce it artificially so we needed this but we needed also to do things better and keep on believing. The guys are very tired now because it was a long run but it was important for us.'