No Blues as Tuchel gets reaction he wanted

Mason Mount.
Mason Mount.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEVILLE • Thomas Tuchel praised his Chelsea side for overcoming the shock of last week's 5-2 defeat by West Bromwich Albion as they beat Porto 2-0 in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

The Blues conceded more than double the amount of goals against struggling West Brom as in their previous 14 games under Tuchel but looked like their usual selves against Porto, winning thanks to goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell.

"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," said Tuchel. "I saw a response immediately in the dressing room and the next day. That wasn't a big concern. We were ready to respond. There will always be setbacks in sports. The biggest challenge is to bounce back."

The German, who led Paris Saint-Germain to last year's final, replaced Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge in January. Since his arrival, Mount has scored five goals in all competitions, more than any other Chelsea player.

The England midfielder's attitude has impressed Tuchel, who noted that Mount "is open and hungry to learn", adding that he "is a key player for us and I am happy he fits into this role at a young age".

The Premier League side are in the driving seat ahead of the "home" leg of the quarter-final on Tuesday, which will also be played in Seville due to Covid-19 travel restrictions between Portugal and England.

Porto have not made it beyond the Champions League quarter-finals since last winning the competition under Jose Mourinho in 2004, but they took the game to their opponents and were the better side for large spells in Seville though they repeatedly lacked the precision to take advantage.

Coach Sergio Conceicao underlined the huge wealth gap between the two sides which saw Chelsea bring on some star names from the bench. He felt, however, that his side had played better than their richer opponents.

"We know Chelsea's strengths. They sent on Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud, N'Golo Kante and Thiago Silva - they have different weapons. But we were superior," he said.

"There are no moral victories however, what counts is the result. But we're in the middle of the tie so let's believe."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2021, with the headline 'No Blues as Tuchel gets reaction he wanted'. Subscribe