Thomas Tuchel hails ‘courage’ of Chelsea players after Champions League draw at Real Madrid

The Blues were good value for the result in torrential rain at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium

Callum Rice-Coates@callumrc96
Tuesday 27 April 2021 22:43
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Thomas Tuchel praised the “courage” and “quality” of his players after Chelsea earned a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.

But the Blues manager insisted his side should have won the game after creating and squandering several opportunities in an eye-catching first-half display.

Christian Pulisic’s coolly taken goal put Chelsea in front early on, but Karim Benzema levelled things up just before the half-hour mark with an emphatic close-range finish.

The result was a good one for the visitors, though Tuchel was clearly of the opinion that it might have been even better.

“I think we started the game very, very well, with a lot of courage and a lot of quality,” he told BT Sport. “We had a lot of chances, a lot of half-chances where we missed precision in the last ball.

“Unfortunately, they scored from a set-piece and there was nothing else to defend for us. It was a bit of a disappointing result at half-time; it was important that we didn't lose confidence.

“The second half was a very tactical game, the speed and intensity dropped and you could tell we were a bit tired. If we had one more day to recover we could keep the intensity up, but was not possible and we have to live with 1-1.”

Chelsea now head into next week’s second leg at Stamford Bridge with an away goal, which will put the emphasis on Real Madrid to score.

But Tuchel warned his players against complacency, reiterating the need for more clinical finishing.

“We should have scored minimum one more,” he added. “We had many ball wins, good control, good attacks, good switch of play.

“It was not too easy to concede a goal more or less out of nothing, but it can always happen with the individual quality of Madrid.”

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