Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea’s Champions League quarter-final first leg win over Porto in Seville has brought the team together after a turbulent last few days at the club.
Superb individual goals from English pair Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell gave Chelsea a 2-0 win against the Portuguese champions as the Londoners made the most of their few chances.
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“It was a tough match against a strong Porto side,” the German manager told BT Sport post-match.
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“There were many moments where we suffered. We accepted it. The circumstances are a bit different in a quarter-final. The spirit was good and it was an excellent result.
“I was pretty sure about that [they’d react well after the WBA defeat]. I saw a response immediately in the dressing room and the next day. That wasn’t a big concern. We were ready to respond.
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“There will always be setbacks in sports. The biggest challenge is to bounce back.
We had a lot of excellent results together, then we had a loss together and then a reaction after a loss together. That brings us closer together and increases the trust.
It was another tough night, though, for Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, who were brought off for Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud after 65 minutes. The German internationals have struggled to make the impact expected of them since joining last summer, and Tuchel admitted they had a difficult evening.
“At the time I accepted that it was a tough match for Timo and Kai today, they didn’t have their best day”, said the Chelsea boss.
“We did not deliver so good so the connection between the seven and the front three wasn’t there. The balls we delivered weren’t the best balls.
I could feel that our two German players, Kai and Timo, didn’t play at their highest level so I wanted to have an impact from the bench.
“It’s very hard that once you lead, you play with the mentality of not losing what you had and keeping what you have. We wanted to win the next half, the next duel and to try and score the next goal.
“The best way to defend is to attack, to have more possession and to have courage. I am happy with the impact from our substitutes today.”
MOUNT: A GOOD WIN
“We knew it would be a tough game,” goalscorer Mount said.
“We kept going, we got the goal in the first half and the second secured a good win. The job’s not done.
“They’ll fight for the next leg and we’ll have to give it our all. We’ll be ready.”
The second leg on April 13 will also be played at Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan stadium due to coronavirus restrictions on travel between Portugal and England.
Additional reporting from Reuters.
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