In what could officially be the last game of the Roman Abramovich Era, Chelsea produced a performance well in line with most of those Us-vs-Them 19 years: controlled, calm, clinical — for the most part — and with one and only one singular aim, winning. It’s our fifth FA Cup semifinal in the last six years, and eleventh since 2003.
Chelsea have managed to remain completely focused on the football itself during these unprecedented times for the club, and while head coach Thomas Tuchel hasn’t been surprised by that, he’s still nonetheless impressed — as we all should be, even if we should be expecting nothing less.
“They have impressed me. Not surprised me. [We’ve] had to find a certain level of accepting the situation and refocusing on what we can influence. That is our performance.
“[We’re] determined to push the players to the maximum level of performance. This includes focus, respectful behaviour, includes an attitude of a team spirit that is needed. These are the things that we rely on now and trust.”
“[It’s] also my responsibility and everyone’s responsibility to show the right spirit, positivity, and not go into self-pity and worry. [They] are a special group of players, in a very special and ambitious club. This is sometimes what life demands from you and that’s special things.”
Though beating Middlesbrough didn’t require anything too special in the end — not sure how Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur faltered in the previous rounds — it probably wasn’t as easy as we made it look. Making hard things look easy is one of the hallmarks of a truly good team, after all.
“We were very focused and there was a lot of effort against the ball. We didn’t allow big chances and were very disciplined against the ball and we put in a huge effort. We defended as a team and attacked as a team. On the ball, we were calm and controlled the match. We managed to find the gaps to escape the high pressing line, to find the spaces, and to create fast attacks.
“We controlled the match and in the decisive moments scored. We created more chances. So I am very happy and very impressed because it was another and focused performance. It was a deserved win.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Now it’s time for an international break, a chance to relax, recharge, avoid injuries, and watch for news about the club’s sale — before refocusing for the final two months of the season, with two trophies still possible.