Chelsea – Crystal Palace reaction: The Blues introduced themselves as formidable Premier League title contenders on Saturday, as Thomas Tuchel’s reigning European champions hardly broke a sweat while hammering the Eagles 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
USMNT star Christian Pulisic got a goal for Chelsea, as did Marcos Alonso with a sensational free kick and Premier League debutant Trevoh Chalobah with a stellar strike from long-range.
Even without Romelu Lukaku, the $135-million striker who returned to west London on Thursday, Chelsea were nothing but comfortable and assured every step of the way.
Below is live reaction from Stamford Bridge as Chelsea and Crystal Palace coaches and players spoke following the season-opening London derby.
Chelsea – Crystal Palace reaction, live!
Tuchel spoke of his happiness with the performance, given the fact it was the first official fixture of the season…
“It’s never perfect. You always find something to do better. Given how we arrived to this after a match on Wednesday, long travel and today was very hot, we pushed some players over the limit in terms of minutes and physical preparation. It was a very good game from the start to the end. We were well deserved winners. Big congratulations to the team. They did good and overcame tiredness.
“We were pretty sharp. It looked easier than it was. Some players we pushed with 120 minutes over the line already and they stepped up again. We set our standards as high as possible. It was a huge team effort.”
Tuchel, on giving opportunities to young players, and Trevoh Chalobah’s debut and goal…
“We will never stop doing so. Chalobah plays alongside Reece James and Mason Mount. This is how it has to be. This is what we love. This is what everyone loves about football — a mix of famous players from abroad and quality players from the academy.”
“Fantastic. He gets all the praise and it’s well deserved. Two excellent matches. He played against Arsenal and Tottenham in friendlies, then 120 minutes on Wednesday, then 90 today and scores. It’s fantastic these things happen in sports. A perfect day for him.”
Tuchel, on the challenge of being favorites rather than underdogs…
“We were not favorites for the Champions League, we reached constantly the highest level when it was necessary. This is one competition, the reality is we needed the help last season from Tottenham in the last game. There are three teams who did better in the last season than us, so now it is on us to keep calm, work hard and reach the highest level.”
Tuchel, on adding Lukaku, who wasn’t available on Saturday, to the team and what kind of impact his arrival will have…
“It’s no problem to add a player like Lukaku to any squad in the world. He can escape isolation on Monday so has a full week to prepare for Arsenal and should be on the pitch.
“He has personality, physique, experience in different leagues at big clubs. He has experience of taking responsibility and scoring and taking responsibility of players around him. He’s a big Chelsea fan and he absolutely fought, he was thrilled about the idea to finish the mission here which is not completed for him. It’s the package we were looking for.”
🗣 "It's not a secret we had trouble scoring goals consistently. Romelu gives us this experience and personality."
Thomas Tuchel says Romelu Lukaku's arrival will take the pressure off the young players like Havertz, Werner and Pulisic pic.twitter.com/sdexXXCugY
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 14, 2021
Chalobah, who says he didn’t even know that his shot went in, also spoke about how making his debut and scoring an incredible goal is “a dream for a young boy like me” after 13 years at Chelsea…
🗣 "It's a dream for a young boy like me, being here since I was nine years old."
Trevoh Chalobah speaks about breaking in to the senior team and playing in front of the fans at Stamford Bridge pic.twitter.com/ayThMsadi5
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 14, 2021
Vieira admitted that “Chelsea were by far the better team” and that much work lies ahead of Crystal Palace if they are to right the ship and realize any form of success this season…
“We had a game that we expected — a really challenging and difficult one. We tried to frustrate them, but the free kick we conceded from made it even more difficult. We knew what we were missing before the game and that shows we have a lot of work to do.
“It was important for us to manage the wing backs, they maybe had too much time and space on the ball. With five at the back we tried to go man-to-man. We lacked a bit of discipline at times, but Chelsea were by far the better team. We have to try and improve for the next game.”
“I’m frustrated, because I thought we could do a bit more without the ball. We have to accept to defend, because the other team was better. We got too frustrated.
“The game showed there is a still a lot of work to be done. We knew it would be challenging today. Chelsea may have 20 international players. We showed the difference between the teams.”
Vieira on transfer business still to be done at Selhurst Park…
“We will need to improve the squad and are short on numbers. We need to being more players to have a better squad.”