Thomas Tuchel praises ‘disciplined’ Chelsea after Champions League win over Atletico Madrid

A first win in Europe for the new boss, after he led PSG to top spot in their group before Christmas

Karl Matchett
Tuesday 23 February 2021 22:49

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel praised his team’s performance both on and off the ball against Atletico Madrid and said the Blues “deserved” the 1-0 victory which puts them in the driving seat for the Champions League last-16 tie.

Olivier Giroud netted the only goal of the first leg with a brilliantly taken overhead kick midway through the second half, but Chelsea were the better side throughout on account of their more adventurous and possession-based style.

Tuchel was equally happy that his side gave up few chances, with Atletico not managing a shot on target in the game and ultimately being undone by their own defensive game plan.

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“A fantastic result and fantastic goal - and well-deserved,” he told BT Sport.

“We wanted to dominate in the opponent’s half but never lose concentration, no easy mistakes and [then] take risk in the last 20 metres. It was again a very disciplined performance.”

Most of Tuchel’s matches in charge so far have seen his side have plenty of possession but create few genuine openings to score goals - they average 1.25 per match under the German boss. But the former PSG head coach is confident that the team’s attacking play will improve the longer they have to work together.

“It’s about repetition. We create a lot of situations where we can start attacks but it’s like learning a new song - you have to repeat it so you get more fluid, get the rhythm and the automation.

“It’s one of the toughest challenges opening a team like Atletico but we will not stop pushing the guys to improve.”

One issue Chelsea will face in the second leg is the suspensions of Mason Mount and Jorginho, who both picked up bookings - but Tuchel is more focused on the challenges ahead, with four Premier League matches to be played ahead of the second leg.

“One player [Mount] very early and then Jorgi took a tactical foul which was necessary. We have to find solutions for that but there are many games in between.”

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