Champions League: Chelsea head to Real Madrid for quarter-final second leg as defense hangs in balance
Chelsea 3-1 down ahead of their Champions League quarter-final second leg at Real Madrid; Man City take a slender one-goal advantage to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday; Liverpool have one foot in semi-finals after 3-1 win over Benfica in first leg; Villarreal take 1-0 lead to Bayern Munich
WE’RE LEVEL ON AGGREGATE! Rudiger with a towering header from a corner to double our lead at the Bernabeu!
Click the Link: https://streamff.com/v/1e2bcd
Chelsea have tied it. Rudiger with the header. We got ourselves a game. pic.twitter.com/XmJzKITZCz
— Barstool Football (@StoolFootball) April 12, 2022
Real Madrid 0-2 Chelsea | GOAL! Rudiger.
— All Goals. (@AllGoals_) April 12, 2022
“The tie is not alive” – Thomas Tuchel visibly frustrated after punishingly harsh Real Madrid defeat
Chelsea’s wretched form post two-week international break continued on Wednesday as they fell 1-3 at Stamford Bridge in the first-leg of Champions League quarter-finals. Looking back at the last two clashes, there are more reasons for concern than optimism, especially considering the frequency of Chelsea men’s individual errors, that can potentially leave Chelsea’s dreams of European glory in tatters. Chelsea boss, Thomas Tuchel was seen visibly frustrated during the post match interview, following his side’s dismal run of conceding 7 home goals in just two games.
‘It is a heavy loss,’ admitted Thomas Tuchel.
‘It was one of the worst first halves that I saw from us here at Stamford Bridge. At this kind of level you cannot play like this individually or as a team.
‘From all of us, we were by far not good enough, we were not doing what we are used to doing. The first half was so far from any standards that we set ourselves.’
Yesterday’s game was the most dramatic example of one player single-handedly steering his team to victory. Karim Benzema bullied the Blues to the brink of Champions League exit with a sublime hat-trick, his second of this year’s Champions League campaign.
Chelsea desperately sought to make a statement of intent in the first-half through a creative and aggressive Reece James, who Tuchel positioned very high up the pitch so as to benefit from his incredible dribbling and crossing. However, this tactical decision was laced with risk as it left Christensen isolated in the centre against Vinicius and Benzema, costing them back-to-back goals from the Frenchman in the space of 3 minutes.
Thomas Tuchel on Andreas Christensen's struggles vs Vinicius Jr:
"Yes, my mistake."
— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) April 6, 2022
Thomas Tuchel explained the reasons behind Chelsea’s struggling first-half;
‘Everything went wrong in the first half. It was not only about when we pass, how we pass. It was also the intensity in challenges and the desire.
‘In the second half I think we had 16 shots to one shot. You can always come back and equalise but if you concede again after 48 minutes it is harder and harder. Still, we had chances in the second half to make it 3-2 and this could have been crucial but not today.’
Kai Havertz’s header before the half-time only proved to be a mere consolation as a dreadful Mendy error within a minute of the restart allowed Banzema to capitalise on the blunder and claim the matchball, re-establishing his side’s 2-goal lead, making the scoreline 1-3.
Displeased with his team’s display, missed opportunities, expensive misjudgements and even his own decisions regarding tactical rotation and substitutions, Thomas Tuchel said;
‘We wanted to change the formation and to turn things around because I think personally there was enough where we could hurt them but we were so far off our level in everything the game demands – tactically, individually, in shape.
‘We tried to play in a new formation but we killed the game off with a big mistake after three minutes. It was a tactical change and like always it’s never on one or two players, it’s on all of us and I’m included in this.’
He also added:
‘We have to find our level back. I don’t know where it is since the international break but the first half today was a repetition of the second half against Brentford.
‘In a quarter-final against Real Madrid, you cannot expect a result from this kind of performance.’
When asked about Chelsea’s future matches and if a tie-overturn was still a possibility according to him, Thomas Tuchel replied;
‘The tie is not alive with this performance. How many clubs in worldwide football won with a three-goal difference? It’s only realistic to answer like this so we shouldn’t think I’m giving the wrong message. We need to find our competitive spirit, our quality, and then we can talk.
‘I worry more about Southampton than Real Madrid in the next week, that’s my focus. We have to get things ready for Saturday and not think about the Bernabeu because on Saturday we face Southampton and if we continue to play like this, we will not get a point.
‘I think this is very important to process this first, it is crucial. We have to make sure everybody processes this.’
Thomas Tuchel on being unhappy:
"What do you expect, to stand here and smile? No we don't have to go to Madrid, we go to Southampton. This is very important and crucial to go there. I will make sure everybody processes this."
— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) April 6, 2022
Real Madrid stole a commanding lead in the Champions League quarter-final first-leg against Chelsea, leaving them a mountain to climb in the return leg at Santiago Bernabeu.
WATCH: Thiago Silva’s wife, Belle, triggered by commentator’s indiscreet remark on her husband
Thiago Silva’s wife, Belle, was left furious after a commentator criticised the defender’s performance during Chelsea’s shock defeat to Brentford on Saturday, a game that was hosted at Stamford Bridge.
She rushed to defend her husband, taking to her Instagram and making her feelings known over the said incident.
The criticism of any kind is basically challenging someone’s ability, which is why in response to feeling judged, anyone would recoil. When it comes to sports, particularly punditry and especially commentary, criticism and harsh analysis have become a firm premise of the football way of life.
An example of one such case was highlighted on Saturday as a TV commentator, who was covering the Chelsea v Brentford fixture live, singled out the blues centre-back, Thiago Silva, making a scapegoat of him and criticising his lack of attacking, inevitably attributing the loss to his perceived flaws, rather indirectly.
Despite the stellar opening goal from Rüdiger, Chelsea failed to maintain their lead and went on to concede 4 goals from the bottom-table side. Such an underwhelming and abysmal display of footballing ability left the players unable to keep their heads held high and made them a subject of criticisim from pundits, commentators, and fans as well.
Thiago Silva’s wife, who is known for her very active social media presence and for publicly voicing her opinions, didn’t appreciate the slander and reacted aggressively to the judgment that was passed on her husband. Here’s what she posted on her story;
Belle Silva very assertively defended her husband’s reputation against the commentator overstating Silva’s lack of forward presence and demanded that her husband should be allowed some leeway in his performance as he had just returned from international duty with Brazil.
“Respect him, he’s not a machine. He needs to relax, alright?”, said Belle.
Being outclassed by a team with hallmarks of a struggling club is stressful enough but then having your name being pronounced as someone lacking effort despite your commendable record at the club will certainly call for repurcussions.
Thiago Silva responded to the loss in his own social media message that read;
Good days make you happy. Bad days bring you experience. Both are essential for life.Happiness makes you good, but troubles make you strong. Pain keeps you human, falls keep you humble.Success keeps you bright, but only GOD keeps you standing (Denzel Washington). WE keep going 👊🏽 pic.twitter.com/V6pI7md9QL
— Thiago Silva (@tsilva3) April 2, 2022
There’s a growing need for commentators to realise that they are in a position of great responsibility, considering their opinions reach millions of people. Therefore, they need to be conscious of their harsh and/or critical analyses that could potentially put the players in a negative light, making them an easy target for abuse.
Thomas Tuchel reacts to Chelsea’s deserved 4-1 aggregate win over Lille
Thomas Tuchel talked to the press after securing a crucial victory over the French counterparts, booking a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
It is becoming increasingly evident that there is no stopping Chelsea even after facing such stringent sanctions, as they continue to ease past their opponents, one match at a time.
Talking to BT sport, the blues boss, Thomas Tuchel expressed his feelings, following the delicious victory over Lille in a post-match interview, He said;
“It’s so nice that so many fans are here to support the team, it feels brilliant.
The quarter-finals is a big step. We showed resilience and mentality to overcome difficulties”.
“We did what was necessary. We dug in and got a deserved win. It’s difficult here.”
He also added;
“Chelsea has this kind of culture within the club where we work every day. What I found from day one was a football first mentality. Everybody pushes the first team every three days, everybody goes to the limit and is focused on football.
“We’ve been trying to implement an atmosphere. This culture is already installed and this helps us now to focus with difficult and distracting times because it’s always there.
“We encourage the players. It feels so good we can still produce results and I’m proud.”
Chelsea went into the game lacking urgency and creativity for the majority of the first-half. The blues struggled with their midfield, failing to maintain control of the game.
This caused the Premier League side to concede a penalty in the first-half of the game, following an unfortunate handball from Jorginho as a result of an awkward series of events.
Burak Yilmaz registered himself on the scoresheet, capitalising on the penalty awarded to them after a VAR review.
Reacting to Chelsea’s first-half performance, Thomas Tuchel said;
“We weren’t so good in the first half. The pitch was horrible and it made things complicated. It was a new pitch not ready to play on,”
“The tactics weren’t right in the first 20 minutes, I take responsibility. Then it was more fluid. It was very important to calm everyone down”.
Despite falling behind, Chelsea didn’t give up and went on to turning things around in both the halves, owing to the goals from Christian Pulisic and the Blues capitain, Cesar Azpilicueta.
Tuchel applauded the players’ mentality to keep going, even under the circumstances the players currently face, due to recent developments off the pitch.
“We hope and expect to carry on. We want to compete. It took a lot of sacrifice, we fought hard to be in the last eight. We’re excited for the draw [but] we have a game in Middlesbrough three days later”.
Thomas Tuchel hails Cesar Azpilicueta for his amazing leadership quality and also acknowledges his status as a club legend
Tuchel was also made to share his thoughts on Cesar Azpilicueta, following his action-packed performance and his winning goal in last night’s match.
“He is maybe the perfect example to describe as a person and as a leader what we are doing. He is just doing what he is doing and he’s doing it in good times and in bad times, when he’s a regular player and when he’s a regular starter.
“He’s doing the same thing over and over again when he has personally maybe a period where he suffers a bit, maybe he’s not playing regularly.
“He needs to play all the time wing-back, which is maybe not his very best position, but he’s there and he just lives on a daily basis what it takes to be Chelsea captain. He’s a legend already in the club and this is what we need. I don’t think we need extra, extra, extra at the moment.
“We just need a reliable attitude, reliable teamwork, reliable spirit and this is what we have and what we rely on and Azpi is a huge part of that”.