Christian Pulisic was praised by his manager after coming on in the Champions League clash, but those who went off didn’t fare quite so well
Thomas Tuchel was largely happy following Chelsea’s 2-0 Champions League quarter-final first leg win over Porto, but he did admit that both Timo Werner and Kai Havertz underperformed.
Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell provided two away goals in the first leg on neutral soil at Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.
However, the scoreline doesn’t tell the story of the match where the Blues struggled for large sections against the Portuguese champions. It was partly because they struggled to create chances, aside from Mount’s moment of magic, until both their German attackers were substituted in the 65th minute.
What did Tuchel say?
Tuchel admitted that he wanted more from the duo and praised the impact of Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud, who came on in their place.
“I accept that it was a tough match for Timo and for Kai today, they did not have their best day and we did not deliver so good, the connection between the deep seven players that we needed for the build-up and the front three, we lost a bit the connection to them,” Tuchel said after the win.
“To have a bit more of an impact, the balls we delivered were not the best balls. I could feel our two German players up front, Kai and Timo, do not play on their highest level today so I wanted to have an impact from the bench.
“Christian [Pulisic] is in a good moment. Oli [Giroud] waited long and has good experience and memories of this stadium. We wanted to give the sign that we keep on going. This is the general mentality that I like about this club and this team and that we also want to implement.
“It is very hard that once you lead that you do not play with a mentality of now we have something to lose, let’s keep what we have, but just to go and try to win the next half and go and try to win the next duel and try to score the next goal.
“The best way to defend is to attack. The best way to impress the opponents is to have ball possession to be couraged and to always be a threat. I am happy about the impact of our substitutions.”
Who is performing well in attack at Chelsea?
Mount is Chelsea’s best attacker under Tuchel having scored five goals during his time at the club. It means that he is the leading scorer in that time and his total is up to seven in 2021, which also puts him out in front.
The 22-year-old has quickly become a big game player for Tuchel this season and it comes amid struggles from both Werner and Havertz.
On Wednesday night, Tuchel admitted that Mount’s goal was key because it came against the run of play and settled Chelsea’s nerves.
“The first goal was very important for us because it came at a moment after which we had suffered a lot, that the team was too tense, we were not precise enough, we lacked rhythm, lacked the freedom to adapt to positions and be more active,” he said.
“Our game was a bit static. The finishing was clinical and the finish was excellent from Mason. He has the quality to do this and to do it in a quarter-final is a big step for him and a big help for the team. I am very happy about the two.”