Tag Archives: Tuchel

‘We have nothing to fear’: Lucky 13 for Tuchel as Chelsea reach the Champions League quarterfinals by beating Atletico Madrid 2-0

Thomas Tuchel has said that no-one will want to draw Chelsea in Friday’s draw for the Champions League quarterfinals after watching his side sweep to victory over Atletico Madrid, scoring in either half against the Liga leaders.

Atletico have had an outstanding season in Spain, where they are four points clear at the top-flight summit, but could find no way past a Chelsea side who look increasingly formidable as the English Premier League side kept successive clean sheets against an attack including Luis Suarez and Joao Felix.

Two of Chelsea’s expensive new signings, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, combined at speed for the first goal. Germany striker Werner raced free down the left, advanced into the penalty area and crossed for Ziyech to convert the opener just after the half-hour mark.

Even at 2-0 on aggregate, there were reasons to be wary in the light of canny Atletico’s last-gasp victory at Anfield last season, when they knocked holders Liverpool out of the competition.

Chelsea themselves have harrowing memories of the round of 16 stage from last season, looking back on a 7-1 mauling across two dispiriting matches against eventual winners Bayern Munich.

They look far more resolute now. Werner and Ziyech could both have scored after the break and, after Stefan Savic had been sent off for an elbow to Antonio Rudiger’s chest that was as sly as it was violent, substitute Emerson broke clear and added the second.

Thomas Tuchel extended his unbeaten start as Chelsea boss to 13 matches. “The boys play with a special bond and intensity and results like this give you the confidence to know you can achieve something special,” said the man who took over at the end of January at a club that looked to have little chance of challenging in Europe.

“I’m sure no one wants to play us in the last eight – it will be difficult but we will prepare and we have nothing to fear.

“We know if we cannot find solutions with offensive play we can rely on our physical game. We were absolutely not afraid to put it on a physical level if we didn’t get offensive solutions.

“We enjoyed the battle. The guys were totally on and sharp, we were super hungry to go through.”

Very good performance, unbelievable effort, even from the guys in the stands… could feel we totally wanted it. They tried to pressure us high in the first half but opened up some spaces in the back of the midfield and we could exploit it.”

Injured defender Thiago Silva and banned midfielders Jorginho and Mason Mount were seen celebrating in the stands as Emerson’s 94th-minute goal went in at Stamford Bridge.

Atleti coach Diego Simeone conceded that Chelsea were worthy winners. “The first leg was even but they got their goal,” he said, recalling Olivier Giroud’s acrobatic winner in the first encounter.

“Today they were better than us and deserved to win. We tried to find a way to score, but we weren’t at it up top despite our effort.”
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Thomas Tuchel relishes Champions League draw but says Chelsea lucky in Atletico Madrid win

Thomas Tuchel celebrated an “unbelievable team effort” from his Chelsea side to down Atletico Madrid and make the Champions League quarter-finals but admitted they got “a bit of luck” in their 2-0 triumph. Tuchel however insists he is looking forward to the draw on Friday after the Blues made “a big step” to reach the next stage.
Chelsea cruised into the last eight of the competition for the first time since the 2013-14 season courtesy of a dominant display at Stamford Bridge.

Hakim Ziyech essentially put the tie to bed when he made it 2-0 on aggregate after 34 minutes from Timo Werner’s low cross.

And Emerson Palmieri gave Chelsea the scoreline that they deserved with a stoppage-time strike into the bottom corner to make it 2-0 on the night and 3-0 across both legs.

That came after Atletico defender Stefan Savic was sent off for elbowing Antonio Rudiger, although Chelsea got lucky not to have had Cesar Azpilicueta sent off in the first half.

The Spaniard might have given away a penalty when he put his arm across Yannick Carrasco inside the box at 0-0, the Belgian tumbling to the turf.

Referee Daniele Orsato gave nothing despite the contact, however, and VAR opted not to review the incident despite calls for a spot-kick from La Liga leaders Atletico.

And aside from that and one late save, Chelsea were comfortable and deserved victors with the likes of Luis Suarez and Joao Felix brilliantly nullified.

The trio of Thiago Silva, Jorginho and Mason Mount – all unavailable due to injury and suspension – were spotted celebrating together up in the stands after Emerson’s late goal.

And Tuchel even acknowledged the three as Chelsea went 13 games unbeaten, the longest streak without defeat to start a manager’s tenure at the London club in their history, having kept 11 clean sheets in that time.

The German manager looks to have turned Chelsea into real contenders for a second ever Champions League crown and said to BT Sport after the full-time whistle: “A very good performance, unbelievable team effort from the guys on the pitch, the guys on the bench, even the guys in the stands.

“You could really feel that everyone totally wanted it and we got through, deserved. A good win for us.

“We had the possibility to hurt them on a counter-attack. They tried to press us very high in the first half. But they opened up some spaces in the back of the midfield and we could exploit it to score a fantastic goal that gave us a lot of confidence.

“After that we had chances shortly after to score a second goal and decide but it was not possible. 

“Second half there were many minutes where we also suffered but we were ready to do what was it was necessary to do and it was another top performance with a deserved win.

“We missed Andreas (Christensen) today who got ill overnight, we’ve missed Thiago (Silva) for many weeks.

“They are big personalities and big quality for us, and Zou (Kurt Zouma) steps up, I tell him in the morning, ‘you’ll play’ and he steps up and gives a performance like this.

“I think the guys protect themselves. Defensive work is about team-work, it’s about courage, but also about reliability, that they can feel safe around each other.

“That’s what it takes, plus a good goalkeeper and a bit of luck, and that’s another clean sheet.

“We know that we cannot find solutions with our offensive play, we will always rely on our physical strength and the capability to play an intensive game because we know we are used to it in the Premier League.

“We were absolutely not afraid to put this game on a physical level if we didn’t get the offensive solutions all the time, because it is hard to create chances against them.

“It’s hard to enjoy games, they are a very tough team to play, but we are as well so we enjoyed the battle.”

On the contentious penalty decision, Tuchel insisted he did not see the incident closely but admitted he was panicking on the touchline.

Champions League quarter-final draw details

WHO’S IN THE DRAW?

Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Porto, Paris Saint-Germain.

WHEN IS IT?

The quarter-final draw will be conducted at 11am UK time on Friday March 19.

HOW CAN I WATCH IT?

The draw can be streamed live on the BT Sport Twitter account and the official UEFA Champions League website.

Express Sport will also provide live text coverage of proceedings from Nyon, Switzerland.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel challenges Kai Havertz after he 'stepped up' in Everton win

“We deserved to win,” Tuchel told BT Sport.

“It was a very difficult first half but we controlled it completely. Second half we increased our level and had a lot of dangerous attacks.

“You see the quality of the players and the club. It is a pleasure to be on the sideline and work with the team.

“Everybody in the club is doing everything to compete at this level.”

‘Havertz has arrived’: Chelsea fans salute German as he stars in win over top-four rivals Everton to keep Tuchel unbeaten

Kai Havertz gave Chelsea fans a long-awaited glimpse of the player they thought they were signing when he arrived at Stamford Bridge as the German playmaker pulled the strings in a 2-0 win over Everton in the Premier League.

Havertz, 21, was instrumental in both goals on Monday night, forcing Everton’s Ben Godfrey into an own-goal in the first half before winning a second-half penalty which was converted by Italian metronome Jorginho.

The victory – which kept the Blues unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions under new manager Thomas Tuchel – solidified Chelsea’s hold on fourth spot in the Premier League table as they moved four points clear of Everton in fifth and three points behind Leicester in third.

Monday’s victory was testament to the impact Tuchel has had all across the pitch since assuming command from the sacked Frank Lampard at the end of January.

That was no more so than with Havertz, the big-money summer arrival at the Bridge who has thus far faced a stuttering start to life in England, albeit one partly hindered by the lingering effects a Covid infection.

Returning to the starting 11 alongside countryman Timo Werner, Havertz was the spark for this victory as he arrived to turn a Marcos Alonso cross onto Godfrey and into the Everton net to break the deadlock on 31 minutes.

Havertz continued what many will be hoping was a breakthrough performance in a Chelsea shirt as he helped secure his team’s second of the evening just after the hour mark, racing through to touch the ball past Everton ‘keeper Jordan Pickford, whose sliding momentum brought him down.

Jorginho converted the penalty to maintain his perfect record from the spot this season, while Chelsea went on to comfortably secure the win their dominance deserved against Carlo Ancelotti’s Champions League-chasing side.  

For many, the performance gave hope for bigger and better things to come from Havertz in particular, who persuaded owner Roman Abramovich to part with around £75 million at the start of the season to bring him to West London.

Havertz was not the only to impress, however, with Alonso again showing his threat down the left, and serving as a symbol of Chelsea’s revival under Tuchel, having been brought back in from the cold after being frozen out by Lampard.

Danish centre-half Andreas Christensen was another impressive performer, again a sign of the confidence instilled by the German specialist now occupying the Chelsea dugout.

For Tuchel it was his own slice of history as he became the first manager in Premier League history to guide his team to a clean sheet in each of his first five home games in the competition.

Next up for Chelsea is a trip to Leeds on Saturday, before they face the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid, holding a slender 1-0 lead from the first meeting.

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Tuchel makes it 10: Chelsea’s run goes on as Premier League champions Liverpool lose five in a row at home for the first time ever

Thomas Tuchel has started his tenure as Chelsea boss by going 10 games unbeaten after his side won at Liverpool on Thursday, condemning the reigning champions to a fifth straight home defeat for the first time in their history.

Owner Roman Abramovich and his board of directors increasingly look to have found the right manager in Tuchel for their gifted and expensively assembled squad, although how much of a masterstroke the move can be considered on their part is debatable given that the 2020 Champions League finalist is thought not to have been their first choice to replace Frank Lampard in January.

Neither they nor the tactician will care after Chelsea earned a fifth clean sheet in sixth and a seventh win in nine in all competitions. There were murmurings on social media about his decision to leave Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz on the bench, only for the mainstay of Chelsea’s midfield this season, England midfielder Mason Mount, to score a superb opener three minutes before half-time.

Collecting possession outside the Liverpool penalty area on the left, Mount pushed the ball to his right, outpacing the uncomfortable-looking Fabinho with apparent ease before bending an unstoppable shot into the left-hand corner of goalkeeper Allison’s net, ensuring that Liverpool would not build on the first clean sheet in eight they secured by beating bottom side Sheffield United on Sunday.

“It’s a massive win. Every win now is big,” a jovial Mount told Sky Sports afterwards, admitting that he had been pleased to score because of Chelsea’s concerns over not producing enough goals.

“We had to be brave, push forward and try to win the ball back up high. Most of the time their defensive line is quite high, and we tried to explore that.

“Me, Timo [Werner] and Hakim [Ziyech] tried to run in behind and in the end that paid off. I’m not the quickest but I have a yard of pace.

“We want to keep pushing. We’re in and around [the top four] and these are the games we want to win.”

Liverpool never really threatened. Home boss Jurgen Klopp emerged for the second half with his arms around Sadio Mane, hoping the livewire striker would recapture the kind of form that saw him score both goals when his side won 2-0 at Chelsea in September.

As it was, they did not have a shot on target all night, and Werner, who was denied a goal by a VAR decision and looked lively in attack with clever movement and rapid running, came closest to scoring a second, breaking free inside the penalty area on the left to shoot against the onrushing Allison’s legs during the second half.

“We had moments where we needed to suffer but we never lost the discipline, attitude, desire to defend, and also courage to defend upfront,” said Tuchel.

“When you play at Anfield, you cannot overthink. You have no time to think so we told the players, ‘we need your best performance but we need nothing extra, super-special.

“‘We need to do things on the highest level – precision in passing and distances, where we want the ball. We need to have courage if we want to escape the pressure.’

“We knew that we had to be top in all aspects of the game. They ask you a lot of questions and we needed to have the answers.”

Asked about the impact he has had in his early days at the club, Tuchel said: “I feel a big part of this group, of the whole club, from the first moments.

“We try to help in the best way possible and we are happy when the team show their qualities.”

Reds fans who feel they have missed out on the joy of congratulating their title-winning team at Anfield now have the consolation of knowing that they have not watched the worst run of home defeats in the club’s history.

Had they been able to attend home games this year, they would have seen one goal in six matches – a Mohamed Salah penalty in the 4-1 drubbing by Manchester City – as part of a run of more than 10 hours without a goal from open play.

Top scorer Salah failed to find the net for a third league match in a row, shaking his head in a visible show of frustration as he sat in the stands after being substituted with little more than 20 minutes of the second half played.

Having seen Liverpool slump from being eight points ahead of Manchester City at one stage to now sitting 22 points behind the league leaders, a jaded-looking Klopp said: “The individual quality of Mason, in that one situation, made the difference. It was a tight, intense game. Both teams had to invest a lot. That’s it, pretty much.

“I’d have to watch [the goal] back. I think we had enough players there, we were just too deep. When Mason comes inside, you cannot defend inside the box or around the six-yard box.

“You have to be in the area where they finish these situations. [Tottenham’s] Son does it like that, Mason does it like that, Sadio Mane does it like that. We didn’t do well there and the details decide these kind of games.

“It’s the quality of Chelsea, it’s the first time in a while that Fabinho played. A lot of things are there that you have to consider but… in the end, we conceded a goal, we made a mistake.

“Everything was really good until the final pass. You are close, but if you are not close enough then it’s not even a chance.

“I know we have lost a lot of games now. We know [that]. It’s not about Anfield or whatever. It happens too often in general. In the decisive moments, we have to improve.

“It’s a massive blow. If you lose that many games, you don’t have the right to go to the Champions League. That’s how it is: we have to win football games.”

Defender Andy Robertson did not sugar-coat Liverpool’s form. “We can’t rely on the past,” he warned. “Last season’s done, the season before is done. We’ve not been anywhere near good enough, the way a Liverpool team should be playing or picking up the results that we should be picking up.

“We need to sort that, we need to start winning games. If we do that, we might start climbing the table. It’s simply not good enough and, right now, games are running out.

“We need to start getting points on the board and putting pressure on the people above us. People will think we’re down and out and we need to start picking up results to show them that we’re not. Just now, we’re not doing that.”

Liverpool had gone 68 matches unbeaten at home before Burnley beat them in January. They are now seven without a win at Anfield, and their crisis is such that even third-bottom Fulham, battling to stay up and narrowly beaten by Tottenham earlier on Thursday, pose a conceivable threat when they visit on Sunday.

Only an early Tosin Adarabioyo own-goal gave Spurs victory after they survived late pressure from the hosts, and that will have been enough for manager Jose Mourinho, whose side have improved on a dire run of form with three wins in a week.

Elsewhere, Everton continued their fine season and temporarily went above Chelsea by winning 1-0 at second-bottom West Brom.

Brazil international Richarlison headed the 65th-minute winner for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, keeping them firmly in contention for the fourth-placed finish that Chelsea are chasing in pursuit of guaranteed Champions League football next season.
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sends Man Utd threat to Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea ahead of crunch run

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he is out to wipe the smile from Thomas Tuchel’s face after a dream start to his Chelsea reign. Manchester United travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday to face a Blues side on a run of eight games unbeaten and looking transformed under the German.
But United’s manager warned his side are hellbent of stopping Chelsea’s bandwagon and increasing what is a six-point cushion over the improving Londoners in the top-four fight.

“Thomas has done really well as it’s never easy coming into a season half way through. But hopefully we can stop that run, that’s my job now,” said Solskjaer.

“We know he has come in and it’s changed a little bit at Chelsea and it’s going to be a great challenge for us.

“But we have improved even though we’re still nowhere near where we want to be – higher up the table and winning trophies.”

“Anthony is working really hard to do well for the team and that’s what’s pleasing me every day in training,” said the United manager.

“He’s not going to sit down and wait for things to happen he knows he will have to make it happen himself. We know that he’s got the quality and class.

Solskjaer added: “Everyone goes through a difficult patch at times and Anthony I think we saw he is working harder against Sociedad, and that’s the main thing.”

Probable Man Utd team to face Chelsea: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial

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