Thomas Tuchel summed up his first year at Chelsea with a smile after his Blues beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
“Good year, nice year.”
A European Cup will do that, and Chelsea is still alive for the League Cup, UEFA Champions League, and FA Cup even if the Premier League ship has sailed after an amazing start to the season.
“I feel very good because it still feels like the first day where I’m in the right place,” Tuchel said on Peacock Premium. “I feel so much support, hopefully many more years to come.”
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The Blues had gone some time without a win in the Premier League but Tottenham has been no match for Chelsea regardless of manager.
It’s been six-straight clean sheets of Spurs by Chelsea, and even a slow first half did not discourage Tuchel.
“We were working extremely hard for it and it was a tough match but I’m very happy,” Tuchel said. “It’s so hard to create chances against them but we were relentless. … There was no need for changes, keep on pushing, keep believing.”
Tuchel also got strong performances from two players who’ve looked underwhelmed by his system in recent weeks, and in one case it’s not about looks but words.
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The Chelsea boss praised Hakim Ziyech and his incredible goal, and also liked the work put in by Romelu Lukaku.
“A brilliant goal [from Ziyech], plus the effort from Callum before the goal,” Tuchel said. “Some good things in it and a bit of luck and his technique.”
As for Lukaku, Tuchel saw a lot to like in the forward’s work for the team.
“Very good team performance,” Tuchel said. “He was absolutely reliable and he put in such a shift for us. … A bit of the story for the team that we worked really hard off the ball and sometimes not really had confidence and a calm sense in the opponent’s box. The effort is a benchmark and a standard and he gave everything in terms of work rate. We know this and it can happen in the Premier League that you arrive but be tired in front of goal.”
He was also happy that Chelsea gets a bit of a reprieve after a harrowing run of fixtures over the past two months.
Tuchel wouldn’t be drawn into a title discussion, as Chelsea remains well off Manchester City’s pace, but he says he likes what he sees in term of effort.
“In the end it’s our responsibility to prove ourselves every second day and it [used to be] every third day,” Tuchel said. “You cannot produce it artificially. We needed this but we also needed to do things better and keep believing. The guys are very tired now because it was a long run for us.”