Thomas Tuchel has insisted that Chelsea’s win over Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final’s is a marker of the Blues ‘progression’, as they look to close the gap on Pep Guardiola’s side next season.
Chelsea had gone into Saturday’s clash at Wembley as the underdogs against a quadruple-chasing City side, yet were the dominant force for much of the game, restricting the Premier League leaders to very few genuine chances.
In what was a fairly drab last-four encounter, Tuchel’s side netted the only goal of the game early on in the second-half, the under-fire Timo Werner teeing up Hakim Ziyech to slot home, the win sending the club to a fourth FA Cup final in five years in a week in which they had already secured passage to the Champions League semi-final.
With hopes of clinching a top-four spot also boosted following West Ham’s defeat to Newcastle on Saturday, it could well be a remarkable end to the season for the London club, the appointment of the German back in January now looking like a masterstroke, such has been his impact in a relatively short space of time.
Although there is still a long way to go to truly become title challengers next term, the former Paris Saint-Germain boss insisted that such a win over City is a clear marker of his side’s ‘progression and development’.
“If you play against Pep [Guardiola], you know you play against the highest level in Europe because everywhere where he was at the sideline – Barcelona, Bayern and now Man City for years – he was the benchmark with his teams and you can see this in the Premier League,” Tuchel told chelseafc.com.
“Our target was to close the gap for the 90 minutes because it’s possible in football and if you arrive in a good momentum you can make this happen. We played with a lot of courage and were very self-confident, very brave with the ball and against the ball.
“We deserved the win against one of the best teams with the best manager so that is a huge boost for our progression and development. We arrived with a young team and young players so it’s important to have this experience.”
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Author: Robbie Walls