Tuchel hails fans for win over Leicester but urges Chelsea to finish job at Villa
Thomas Tuchel warned his side that the job is not finished yet after Chelsea edged closer to qualifying for the Champions League by gaining revenge for their defeat to Leicester in the FA Cup final with a 2-1 win over Brendan Rodgers’s side on Tuesday.
Antonio Rüdiger’s first goal of the season and a penalty from Jorginho were enough for Chelsea to take third place off Leicester, whose hopes of finishing in the top four will depend on them beating Tottenham on Sunday if Liverpool win their final two games. It was an excellent display from Chelsea in front of 8,000 fans at Stamford Bridge. However, Tuchel is taking nothing for granted, warning his side not to take their foot off the gas when they visit Aston Villa in their final game.
“It felt like a huge effort and a top performance,” Chelsea’s manager said. “We have to push it over the line on Sunday. It was full of intensity and hunger and ambition. We played many minutes with a lot of quality for a well deserved win. It was not the time for celebration. It is not more than three points. There is another one to catch on Sunday. We have to be prepared.”
Tuchel said that Chelsea, who clung on after a late goal from Kelechi Iheanacho, were inspired by their fans. “This is a completely different match – football with spectators,” he said. “It was exactly what we want. We want everybody who comes to the stadium to feel this energy from this team.
“You come for this energy. You don’t come only for fancy moves. It has to be easy to support us. We have to bring the supporters on the front foot. We feel this team is doing this. Sometimes we struggle with decisions and we don’t reward ourselves. But this was a huge boost.”
Chelsea will assess N’Golo Kanté after the midfielder limped off in the first half. “I hope that N’Golo is not injured,” Tuchel said. “He told me that he went out before an injury. He felt his hamstrings. He worried that he would get injured if he continued to play.”
Tuchel’s counterpart Rodgers said: “Liverpool have a couple of games, Chelsea have a tough game away at Aston Villa. I’ve always said all along we just need to concentrate on ourselves.
“The players have been outstanding. We’re still in the top four and we have one game to go.
“If we just fall short after 38 games then a team with the eighth biggest budget fighting against the level that we’ve been fighting at means we’ve fought really hard and just missed out.”
Tuchel said that his players were aware of Daniel Amartey throwing a Chelsea pennant over his shoulder after Saturday’s final. Mason Mount and Thiago Silva appeared to have a heated exchange with Amartey, an unused substitute, during a mass brawl near the end. “I know there was an incident but I didn’t talk about it before the match or in any meetings,” Tuchel said. “I don’t do this but I think the players were well aware.”