We didn’t have to wait too long for Chelsea to get back on track after Saturday’s shocking 5-2 home defeat, as the Blues swept aside a tough Porto side on Wednesday night, winning the first leg of our Champions League quarterfinal (technically the away leg of this all-neutral-venue affair), 2-0. Yet another clean sheet, yet another match won mostly with controlled possession, a few periods of “suffering”, and a couple crucial moments of quality in front of goal.
That may not be everyone’s cup of tea — Boring, Boring Chelsea is an acquired taste — but it’s the winning formula that’s worked so well for Tuchel thus far. The head coach was accordingly pleased with the performance, especially in light of the weekend that was.
“It was absolutely necessary to show these little details and the reaction. We had a lot of good results in a row, so we had a very bad result and our first loss on Sunday. It was a chance to bounce back and show a reaction so it was our first loss together and the first reaction that we showed.
“It was a tough match because Porto was very, very strong. We suffered a bit because I felt us a little bit tense and not precise enough, free enough or courageous enough during the first half, so life was hard for us because Porto showed a lot of quality.
We absolutely accepted it and we needed a bit of luck to escape with a 2-0 and a clean sheet, but after conceding last Saturday and losing in such a strange game the best way would be to escape and produce a clean sheet straight away and this makes this result very precious. I am very happy that we had a lot of possession, we could escape the pressure very well and the substitutions were a big big help today.
“So yes, it was our first response after our first loss together and I am very happy with the result. I can understand that we felt the tension when it comes to a quarter-final and we accept the quality of Porto. They are a proud club and an emotional club, an emotional team. So the players know very well what they did today and they need to do it again on Tuesday.”
It is, after all, only half-time.
So, same time, same place next Tuesday.
“We were ready to respond. 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.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: BT Sport via BBC