In his assessment of our win over Malmo, Thomas Tuchel acknowledged he and his players got what they came for in tricky circumstances as we secured three crucial Champions League points in Sweden.
The margin of victory was narrow despite plenty of Chelsea possession and chances, with the Blues indebted to the fine wing play of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech for creating and then converting the only goal.
Before praising that duo’s impact, Tuchel assessed the performance and result as a whole.
‘We got the job done,’ he said.
‘We wanted a result, we needed the result, we expected the result, and we delivered.
‘We had a lot of shots, and a lot of touches in the opponents’ half in the first half but we couldn’t score. We wanted to increase the intensity level a bit in the second half to force a goal, and at the moment of highest pressure in the second half we were able to use it with precision and we were clinical enough to score.
‘Control was on our side. We did not suffer difficult situations in our box, we didn’t allow awkward situations. We never lost concentration.
‘It was a deserved win, a close one. There are a lot of reasons why you can stumble today, the pitch wasn’t in good condition, two away games and a lot of travelling, some injured players, but we don’t need to look for reasons because we got the job done.’
Ziyech and Hudson-Odoi switched flanks during the interval
‘All the credit to my assistant Arno [Michels]. He had the idea at half-time. We liked it.
‘We had the feeling when we enter into the space behind the back five we maybe lose some important seconds when Hakim has to switch the ball back on his left foot, and Callum has to switch back on his right foot, and the number eight was closing space.
‘We thought maybe we could save a second or a tenth of a second, and we had a breakthrough on the half-position. Callum could deliver precisely, it was a good ball in, and I’m happy.’
It was Ziyech’s first goal since the Super Cup
‘We always rely on his work-rate and his intensity in counter-pressing, his awareness. There is space for him to improve in decision making and connections on the pitch to be more consistent.
‘With the ball he can still be more clinical and grow more into our rhythm. The injury in his shoulder cost him a lot, even if he pushed hard to come back early. He is still not 100 per cent free, and especially the offensive players love freedom in turning.
‘A goal like this helps the most, so I’m happy for him and for Callum with the assist. It was decisive.’
Ruben Loftus-Cheek completed the full game in central midfield and shone after a rocky start
‘I was a bit worried in the first 15 minutes if he could find another gear. I heard before the match it was his first Champions League start since 2015, so we can give the boy credit to maybe be a bit nervous or find their way into the match.
‘I’m happy he fought his way through. In the moment it’s symbolic for him he does not disappear. He wants to dominate opponents, he wants not just to be a part of the game because he is too talented for that. He needs to use his full potential, that is the key for him. If he does this like he is at the moment, he can be a big part of the squad.
‘That’s why I’m very happy. After the first 15 minutes he was involved in a lot of dangerous moments for us. I’m happy he pushes himself through the little downs like in the first 15 minutes, and comes up with another good performance.
‘The next step is to show consistency and to push himself, because the limit can constantly be pushed because he has so much potential.’