Tuchel Praises Chelsea Player Focus


CHELSEA has again put aside problems off the pitch by ensuring a place in the Champions League quarter-finals after beating Lille 2-1 in the second leg of the last 16, Thursday (17/3).

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel praised the focus of his players amid uncertainty about the club’s future following the sanctions against club owner Roman Abramovich.

After winning 2-0 in the first leg, Chelsea won again. Despite being left behind through Burak Yilmaz’s penalty goal in the 38th minute. The reigning European champions came from behind with goals from Christian Pulisic (45+3′) and Cesar Azpilicueta (71′) to win the last 16 tie 4-1 on aggregate.

“Chelsea are very clear, what is required of every employee and of every player, live and responsibility,” said Tuchel.

“This is what Chelsea is about and that sharpens your mentality and brings out the best in you because this mentality has been in place for years. That’s why we were able to stay focused and get the results we are getting now.”

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Tuchel admitted the Blues were not so good in the first half. According to him, this is influenced by a bad pitch. He assessed that the new field at Lille’s headquarters was not ready to hold a match. He also admitted a tactical error in the first 20 minutes and took responsibility for it.

“We hope to keep going. We are here today, we want to compete, a big step to once again be in the top eight. We’re excited for the draw now,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lille’s defeat meant that the French club did not qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals. Previously, Paris Saint-Germaint (PSG) were also eliminated because they lost to Real Madrid.

In contrast, reigning European champions Chelsea made it their third Premier League club. They join Liverpool and Manchester City in the last eight.

“It’s not normal in the last few weeks but we have to do our best, which is to train as best we can. Tonight was a tough game and of course we are happy to get through it,” said Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta.

The victory was not only passed Chelsea to the last eight. Especially for the coach, there is a personal record created. Tuchel won his 32nd Champions League win, out of a total of 50 games played during his coaching career.

The former coach of Borussia Dortmund, AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germaint has scored 32 wins, 7 draws and 11 defeats. That number equals Jupp Heynckess’ record, as a coach who can pack 32 wins from his first 50 coaching matches in the Champions League.

That record also makes Tuchel surpass the records of Pep Guardiola, Zinedine Zidane, Vicente Del Bosque, and Diego Simeone. Zidane can only win 31 of his first 50 games, while Guardiola has won 30. Del Bosque has won just 29 times, and Simeone, who has just won 28. (AFP/OL-5)