Chelsea players ‘closer together’ following Champions League win over Porto, says Thomas Tuchel

Jamie Braidwood
·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Thomas Tuchel said his squad have been brought “closer together” this week after Chelsea responded to their shock defeat toWest Brom by securing an impressive two-goal lead in their Champions League quarter-final tie against Porto.

Tuchel’s side had endured a difficult few days, with their the 5-2 thumping to Premier League strugglers West Brom on Saturday followed by a “serious” training ground bust-up between Antonio Rudiger and Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The German coach said that the incident had been put behind them ahead of the first leg of their Champions League clash with Porto, with the matter now firmly put to bed following Wednesday’s 2-0 victory.

Goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell in each half secured the win, which leaves Chelsea with one foot in the Champions League semi-finals ahead of next week’s second leg.

“We were ready to respond. There will always be setbacks in sports - the biggest challenge is to bounce back,” Tuchel told BT Sport.

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“We had a lot of excellent results together, then we had a loss together and then a reaction after a loss together. That brings us closer together and increases the trust.

“I was pretty sure they would [react well]. I saw a response immediately in the dressing room and the next day. That wasn’t a big concern.”

Mount’s goal in the 32nd minute helped Chelsea on their way following a difficult first half, where Porto had the majority of the chances at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

It was the attacking midfielder’s first goal in the competition and the 22-year-old said afterwards that he is capable of adding even more numbers to his ever-improving game.

“It’s about time it came,” Mount said of his maiden Champions League strike. “I’ve been waiting patiently. I’m always working on [my finishing] - I don’t think you can work on it enough. I think I can improve on it and score more goals.”

On the West Brom defeat, Mount added: “After the [West Brom] game we put it behind us, but we said we needed to improve. We’re getting better and better, but that game was something we looked briefly at it the next day and then moved on.

“We knew how tough this game was going to be and came into it with full focus, and 100 per cent commitment that we'd win. I felt like we did that tonight.”