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Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel expressed his happiness with his side’s performance against a defensive Atletico Madrid side, as the Blues pulled out a 1-0 Champions League win on Tuesday.

Olivier Giroud’s second-half stunner was enough for Chelsea in Bucharest, as they will take a big advantage into their home leg of the last-16 tie.

Tuchel said the Blues anticipated their opponents might set up defensively and was happy that they managed to break through Atletico’s stodgy back line.

What Tuchel said

Speaking to BT Sport, the Chelsea boss said: “Fantastic result, fantastic goal. Well deserved.

“We wanted to dominate in the opponents’ half, to never lose concentration, not to do any easy mistakes and always be aware of quick counterattacks for all their quality.

“It was a very disciplined performance – a deserved shut-out. This is the hard work, a team effort – the basis for a big win.

“We knew it [Atletico packing their defence] could happen. We told the guys if it happens maybe it’s our quality and the respect. We wanted to be brave and play in their half.

“We knew they were ready to suffer with eight people in the box. The intention was to keep the intensity high. This is what we did very good. We never let them breathe or come out for counterattacks. We have a big reward with this result.

“This is one of the toughest challenges to open a defence like Atletico.”

Tuchel’s strong start at Chelsea continues

Since the former Dortmund and PSG boss replaced Frank Lampard last month, he has won six and drawn two of his eight matches in charge of Chelsea.

Defence has been a strong point for Tuchel, with Chelsea conceding just twice in those eight matches. Only Jose Mourinho has had a better start defensively as Chelsea boss.

2 – Thomas Tuchel has conceded just two goals in eight games as Chelsea manager; in the club’s history, the only coach to concede fewer goals after eight games in charge is José Mourinho (one). Masterclass.

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 23, 2021

Tuchel also became the third Chelsea manager to win his first Champions League game in charge when that game took place in the knockout stage, after Roberto Di Matteo and Guus Hiddink also did so.

What’s next for Chelsea

The suddenly surging Blues face a tough run in the league, as they are set to face Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton and Leeds in their next four Premier League games. 

Tuchel’s side will then take on Atletico in the second leg on March 17.

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Roma beats Genoa 1-0 to move into Champions League places

MILAN (AP) — Gianluca Mancini’s bullet header helped Roma beat Genoa 1-0 to move back into fourth place in Serie A on Sunday.

Mancini scored the only goal of the match in the 24th minute as Roma moved a point above fifth-place Atalanta, which visits Serie A leader Inter Milan on Monday. The top four from Serie A qualify for next year’s Champions League.

Second-place AC Milan was playing at Hellas Verona later.

Genoa remained seven points above the relegation zone after its second loss in three matches. It had only lost one of the previous 10 since Davide Ballardini replaced Rolando Maran as coach.

Roma dominated and broke the deadlock when Mancini rose highest in the middle of the area to head a Lorenzo Pellegrini corner into the top right side of the net.

Roma almost doubled its lead in the 67th but Gonzalo Villar’s effort was deflected onto the right post by Genoa midfielder Ivan Radovanović.

The hosts did have the ball in the back of the net shortly after. Pedro’s backheeled flick came off the left post and Borja Mayoral turned in the rebound but it was ruled out for a narrow offside.

Genoa fought hard for the equalizer until the end but struggled to create opportunities of note.


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