Thomas Tuchel insisted Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City was a marker for the Blues’ ‘progress’ as they sought to close the gap on Pep’s side Guardiola next season.
Chelsea had entered Saturday’s Wembley clash as a loser against a quadruple pursuit City side, but were the dominant force for much of the game, limiting the Premier League leaders to very little real chance.
In what was a fairly lackluster last-four encounter, Tuchel’s side scored the only goal of the game early in the second half, under-fire Timo Werner tossed Hakim Ziyech at home with the victory sending the club to a fourth. FA Cup final in five years in a week in which they had already secured the passage to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
With hopes of securing a place in the top four also bolstered after West Ham’s loss to Newcastle on Saturday, this could well be a remarkable end to the season for the London club, with the German’s January appointment now looking like a master stroke, such was its impact in a relatively short period of time.
While there is still a long way to go to truly become the title challengers next season, the former Paris Saint-Germain boss insisted that such a victory over City was a clear marker of the ‘ “ progression and development ” of his team.
“If you play against Pep [Guardiola], you know you play against the highest level in Europe because wherever he was on the sidelines – Barcelona, Bayern and now Man City for years – he was the benchmark with his teams and you can see him in Premier League, ”Tuchel said at chelseafc.com.
“Our goal was to close the gap for the 90 minutes because it is possible in football and if you come in with a good swing you can do it. We played with a lot of courage and were very confident, very courageous with the ball and against the ball.
“We deserved the victory against one of the best teams with the best manager, so it’s a huge boost for our progress and our development. We arrived with a young team and young players, so it is important to live this experience.
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