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Thomas Tuchel praises 'unbelievable effort' as Chelsea beat Atlético at their own game

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Quarterfinals, here we come!

FBL-EUR-C1-CHELSEA-ATLETICO Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Thiago Silva was into the game so much, intensely living every moment, kicking every ball, and celebrating every good play (and goal) in the stands, that we feared he might actually re-injure himself and keep himself sidelined for even longer than he already has been.

Yet, as he was joined by suspended duo Jorginho then Mason Mount, it underlined just how intensely Chelsea were treating this match. Every single last one of us.

Of course, we knew we had to do that at the very minimum. Atlético were never going to be as passive as in the first leg. They had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and certainly played like it, especially early on.

But Chelsea more than matched the visitors’ intensity, and combined with a few quality counters, a few spells of possession, a bit of luck, and even a bit of gamesmanship, we emerged victorious on the night and, somewhat comprehensively, in the tie overall. Beating them at their own game, if you will.

Thomas Tuchel was certainly pleased, even if he cut a frustrated figure at times on the bench.

“Very good performance, unbelievable effort, even from the guys in the stands... could feel we totally wanted it.

“They tried to pressure us high in the first half but opened up some spaces in the back of the midfield and we could exploit it. Second half there were minutes where we suffered but we were ready to do what was necessary to win. [For example] I tell Kurt Zouma this morning he plays and he steps up. It’s about team work, courage and reliability of feeling safe around each other.

“[We] know if we cannot find solutions with offensive play we can rely on our physical game. We were absolutely not afraid to put it on a physical level if we don’t get offensive solutions. We enjoyed the battle. The guys were totally on and sharp, we were super hungry to go through.

“Quarter-final means there’s only four games - it’s a big step and feels excellent.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: BT Sport via BBC

Here’s to feeling good five more times in Europe this season.