Chelsea didn’t need to win last night. Progression into the Champions League quarterfinals would’ve been achieved even with a 1-0 defeat, thanks to the 2-0 first-leg lead. But we won anyway.
It’s what we (like to) do. It’s what we (expect to) do. It’s what we (have to) do.
Tuchel did seemingly set out with a bit more conservative approach, flooding the midfield after the learnings of the first-leg, but Chelsea lacked any real coherence, at least until the final seconds of the first-half, when a Jorginho pass unlocked the defense and Christian Pulisic sniped the low far corner with an inch-perfect finish.
Restored to a more familiar 3-4-3 setup after half-time, Chelsea got lucky once when Xeka hit the post with his header, but otherwise never looked likely to not secure a place in the next round. César Azpilicueta scored a captain’s goal halfway through the second period to put the nail in Lille’s coffin.
But it’s not just the players, or the coaches. In fact, it’s something a lot more permanent than any of them. It’s part of the fabric of this club after the last two decades. And they cannot take that away. One step beyond, each and every step of the way.
“I think Chelsea are so clear as a club about what they demand of every employee and every player: play your role, play to the limit, and take responsiblity. This is what Chelsea is about and it sharpens your mentality and brings out the best of you.
“It’s normal to do it on a daily basis and because this mentality is installed over years and years, decades, it plays a big part as to why we can stay focused and produce results as we do at the moment when things are uncertain and unstable around us. It’s already there and we live it on a daily basis, of course. [...] We want to be competitive no matter what. It’s a big test at the moment.”
Winning is a habit. And good habits must be maintained, even when circumstances surrounding us aren’t favorable. Especially when they aren’t favorable!
“We try to encourage and support the players in the best way possible [but] everybody plays a huge part at the moment, the staff and the 80 people who work at Cobham.
“[We] take the responsibility we have, that once you work for Chelsea this is what you do. You adapt to the level of talent, be it player, coach or member, or staff. Once you work for Chelsea, you work at the limit. It’s what you do on a daily basis and it’s what helps. We stick together and try to overcome the situation together. I am very proud, very happy.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Winning is our aim, goes the song that recently celebrated its 50th birthday. That will be true tomorrow, the day after, and well beyond. Whoever comes in now at the very top, comes into that established culture and will be expected and demanded to continue cultivating it.