Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel praised his 10-man team for their second-half rearguard action in securing a 1-1 draw at Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday.
Chelsea had led 1-0 before Reece James was sent off for handling on the line and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah equalised from the resulting penalty on the stroke of halftime.
An injury to French international midfielder N’Golo Kante added to Tuchel’s problems at the interval but the German tactician made a double switch during the break which helped his side cope with the pressure from Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Until the penalty incident, Chelsea had played with verve and creativity after taking the lead through Kai Havertz.
“Fantastic, I saw a strong first half, a strong Liverpool side. We were very, very good, scored the first goal, had a big chance for the second goal with Mason Mount,” said Tuchel.
“But the pressure was high, the quality from Liverpool, the energy was high. At some point you have to suffer, this is what we did and then in the last second (before halftime) we concede a penalty and a red card,” he added.
“At halftime we have to substitute Kante due to injury. Suddenly the world is upside down,” he added.
But with Thiago Silva added to the defence, Chelsea handled everything Liverpool threw at them.
“I cannot praise the team enough. I do not know if there is a harder stadium than City and Anfield to go one man down.
“Because of Liverpool’s quality and energy, for the first 10 minutes (after the break) it felt like it was never going to end
“Then, the next half an hour it was like maybe we will create a chance and score one and make it harder for them.
“For the last five minutes hopefully we survive and take a well-deserved point. Our resilience and team-work was absolutely fantastic.
“With pure will, we took the heat out of the game. That was team effort at its very best,” he added.
Tuchel said James had been unlucky to be penalised and sent off and the chelsea coach was disappointed that the referee appeared to make the decision from a still image.
“I don’t know what happens and what doesn’t happen anymore. I was worried the referee looked at one photo and decided it was a red card,” he said.
“I would have liked a longer check. I can remember referees that explained if it is a deflection and it is not a very unnatural arm position it is not a penalty.”
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