Chelsea duo not at their best, Tuchel admits

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said Kai Havertz and Timo Werner were below par in the impressive 2-0 win over Porto and he needed to replace them to maintain the attacking momentum.

The Blues were 1-0 ahead but under increasing pressure when Tuchel brought on Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud with 25 minutes left of the first leg of the away Champions League quarter-final in Sevilla.

“I wanted to give the sign that I accepted it was a bit of a tough match for Timo and Kai,” Tuchel explained at his post-match press conference after seeing goals by Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell give Chelsea advantage heading into next Tuesday’s second leg – which will also be played in Sevilla because of coronavirus travel restrictions.

“They did not have their best days and we did not deliver so good. The connection between the deep seven players we needed for the build-up and the front three was a bit lost.

“We wanted to give the sign that we keep on going. This is the mentality in general I like about the club and the team – and that we want to implement.”

Tuchel said both Werner and Havertz lacked the service they needed to shine but was impressed with how their replacements affected the game after coming on.

Giroud’s hold-up play helped set up a chance for Pulisic, whose fierce strike hit the bar, and the American’s pace helped relieve the pressure in the latter stages.

Tuchel added: “The balls we delivered were not the best and Kai and Timo did not play on their highest level so I wanted to have an impact from the bench because Christian is in a good momentum and Oli and has good memories of the stadium.

“I was happy with the impact from the bench.”

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