Thomas Tuchel praised the ‘big effort’ and ‘high intensity’ Mason Mount brought to Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid and admitted the midfielder’s suspension came as a major blow ahead of the Champions League last-16 second leg.
The Blues took a step towards the quarter-finals after Olivier Giroud gave them the advantage in the tie with an acrobatic overhead kick in the 68th minute at Bucharest’s Arena Nationala on Tuesday night.
However, Mount was shown a yellow card after just 55 seconds for a clumsy challenge on Joao Felix – the quickest booking in the competition this season – which means the England international will play no part in the return leg at Stamford Bridge next month.
Chelsea will also be without Jorginho after he also was booked midway through the second half in Romania.
‘We miss two crucial players, it makes things not easier for us,’ Tuchel told reporters at his post-match press conference.
‘I’m very happy with the performance of everybody and that includes Mason of course.
‘Again, a good effort, a big effort, high work-rate, high intensity. And while we are used to him playing like this, he has a big input and impact on our team.
‘But honestly we know play Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton and Leeds and we cannot get too comfortable, we cannot get lazy.
‘These games will push us to our limits and then we will think about solutions for the second game against Atletico.’
The Chelsea boss told BT Sport: ‘We knew before the game that there was that risk.
‘One player, I think Mason, got their yellow card very early and then unfortunately Jorgi made a tactical foul which at that moment for unfortunately necessary.
‘So we will have to find solutions, but there are many games between now and the second leg. We play Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton so on.
‘We will find a solution when it is time for it.’ Which team will progress through to the Champions League quarter-finals?
Chelsea Atletico Madrid Tuchel was pleased with the ‘very disciplined performance’ Chelsea produced against such a dangerous Atleti side, who sit top of La Liga this season. ‘Fantastic result, fantastic goal. Well deserved,’ the German added.
‘We wanted to dominate in the opponents’ half, to never lose concentration, not to do any easy mistakes and always be aware of quick counter-attacks 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 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 counter-attacks. We have a big reward with this result.
‘This is one of the toughest challenges to open a defence like Atletico.’
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