Thomas Tuchel hailed Chelsea’s adaptability after they switched their focus from the Champions League to the FA Cup in beating Middlesbrough.
The Blues booked their place in the FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 win over their Championship opponents on Saturday. Mason Mount starred with two assists for Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech, respectively.
What’s more, both of Chelsea‘s goals came in the first half an hour. That allowed the visitors to control the tie thereafter and progress.
Boro had their moments, especially in the second half as they pressed to get back into the quarter-final.
Unlike Chelsea, though, they lacked the cutting edge when it mattered as the Blues advanced into the last four.
Tuchel told BBC Sport of his side’s performance: “We were very focused, very serious from the beginning, showed the quality in the decisive moments. Then we scored two early goals which gave us a comfortable lead.
“The effort was huge to not allow Middlesbrough to get a foot back into the door, so I’m very happy.
“As you know we come through a period with a lot of matches in a short period of time. [There are] a lot of consecutive matches.
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“The Champions League [against Lille] then two or three days later, you play a totally different competition and a totally different approach and again you’re focused and get away with a deserved win.”
The result ended Middlesbrough‘s impressive FA Cup run.
After getting past Mansfield in the third round, Chris Wilder’s side beat Manchester United and Tottenham.
Tuchel subsequently explained how he made his team avoid the same traps as their Premier League rivals.
Tuchel explains Chelsea FA Cup tactics
“We saw that they are brave, we are totally aware of their strengths and their structure in 5-3-2,” the manager said.
“They push up high, the wing-back on the right-hand side is almost as a right winger. So, we adapted to that and decided to play a 4-1 in the build-up and not our usual 3-2 shape.
“We put Malang Sarr on the left full-back, so that when we have the ball we can have a close connection between Malang Sarr and their right full-back.
“We constantly played with [Cesar] Azpilicueta, Thiago [Silva] and Toni [Antonio Rudiger] in a three against their two strikers.
“It’s impressive because it’s one thing to play according to the plan. Within the plan they showed their individual quality and the determination that this needed.
“We were aware of how they managed to beat Man Utd and Tottenham, of course.”
Chelsea return to action against Brentford at Stamford Bridge after the international break.