Tuchel regrets big mistake he made during Chelsea’s win over Lille


Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel concedes he should have brought Mateo Kovacic off earlier during the Champions League win over Lille on Tuesday.

Kovacic was forced off six minutes into the second half with what appeared to be an injury and Tuchel now faces an anxious wait to see whether he will be fit for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Liverpool.

“I don’t know,” Tuchel said after the game. “I should have substituted Kova at half-time so we could have saved one more change.”

Tuchel named a front three for the Champions League knockout clash with Lille as Romelu Lukaku dropped to the bench.

Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic all started as the Blues looked much more threatening in attack compared to recent weeks.

But Tuchel was also forced to bring Ziyech off nine minutes after Kovacic had departed, with the Morocco international also struggling with injury. And the German coach admits he doesn’t know how bad the forward’s issue is.

“I did not speak to the doctor yet with Hakim, I hope it is not too much,” Tuchel continued.

Chelsea took only eight minutes to go ahead against the French Ligue 1 side as Havertz headed home a corner from Ziyech.

The hosts dominated the match as they looked to carve the Lille defence open at every chance. Havertz even went close on two other occasions, while Ziyech and Pulisic also impressed.

And Pulisic doubled the west Londoners’ advantage just after the hour mark as he found the net after being played in by N’Golo Kante.

Kante was also suoerb in the middle of the pitch. And Tuchel was quick to praise the player after the final whistle, while the German also conceded his whole team were impressive at times.

“Today he [Kante] was back at the top level,” Tuchel added. “He got better every minute through the game and it has a huge impact.
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“But we’re not surprised and we’ve been waiting for it for a few games now. It was a top performance. “We had very strong periods – for example the first ten minutes – but then we have periods when it is gone.

“Easy ball losses, a lack of fluidity – but then we recover and have good periods. This is the story at the moment. “If we can keep it up at the level for minutes longer, be a bit more consistent, then this is the way.”

Chelsea will now turn their attentions to the Carabao Cup final as they look to go head-to-head with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the showpiece event at Wembley on Sunday.


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