Chelsea’s performance on Thursday night at Oakwell left plenty to be desired, even if the 1-0 scoreline favored the Blues in the end and got us into the FA Cup quarterfinals for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
But given the number of changes in the team, ten to start, not to mention a couple formation changes during the game, and the minutes handed out to players who have not been involved as much lately as some of the others, overanalyzing the performance may not be a very useful exercise.
And that’s pretty much how Tuchel’s taking the game at least in public, though one presumes that he’s not exactly come away impressed with most of those of who thus struggled for large parts of the 90 minutes against second division opposition. But such criticisms are best saved for the training ground anyway.
“We can stop analysing it. It is already done. Chelsea are through to the quarter final, full stop. We can clearly play better, it was not our best performance.
“To cope with the difficulties today was hard for us. To cope with the pressure, to escape the press in our own half. We made some changes at half-time and we played better in a different structure to help the team. They did very, very well until we scored a very nice goal but after that the opponent took a lot of risk and played very aggressively.
“We struggled to cope with the first challenges and second balls. So, in the end, we were way too deep for too long. We were lucky in the first half to have Kepa save us and we were lucky when Tammy saved us with the header on the line.
“We have to admit that we struggled today but in the FA Cup it is sometimes like this.
“I don’t want to be too harsh on the guys in the circumstances. It wasn’t too easy but we went through and that’s the most important thing.”
Tuchel also added praise for Billy Gilmour and Reece James for their involvement in the lone goal of the game — which, as replays proved later, was in fact well onside — but the match overall was more of a learning opportunity rather than a showcase of our abilities.
There will be days like this, even for good teams. And we’re only an improving team.
“I’ve said before the match and at half time, we can not expect too much of ourselves.
“We have to cope with the quality of the opponent, the role that we were clear favourites and they had nothing to use, we have to cope with the lack of quality from the pitch. We arrive here with many changes and we lack a bit of rhythm and self-confidence. We can clearly do better but I don’t want to judge everybody too harshly.
“It was important to try hard to be better. There are things to improve but we have the win and can continue.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Teams need time to get better and the best way to get more time is to win. Mission accomplished in that sense. This job is done, and we move.