Manager Thomas Tuchel admitted Chelsea had to match both Brentford’s fight and energy levels to take all three points from their clash on Saturday evening.
The Blues returned to the top of the Premier League table with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Brentford Community Stadium. Left-back Ben Chilwell scored the only goal of the game just one minute before the interval. Brentford have shown in their previous seven games that they are not in the Premier League just to make up the numbers.
And they threw everything they had at the European champions in search of an equaliser. Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy was forced to make two vital saves while Malang Sarr also cleared off the line.
And forward Bryan Mbeumo twice struck the woodwork. But Thomas Frank’s men could not find the back of the net and left with nothing to show for their efforts.
However, Tuchel knew his side had been in a battle and felt they were fortunate to claim the spoils.
“We were very strong for 70 minutes and very lucky for 20 minutes, to sum it up. We escaped with the three points thanks to Edouard,” he told BBC Sport. “It was like a cup game at the end; they took risks and the atmosphere gave them a lot of courage.”
Tuchel delighted with Chelsea work rate
Chelsea have begun the season in superb style and are among the favourites to take the title. Success for Brentford will be to stay in England’s top division.
However they have already shown themselves capable of much more. And Tuchel revealed just what his charges had to do to stave off the rampant Bees.
“They play like this from the start, it was a lot of effort to not allow them to create this energy, and we put lots of effort into collecting second balls in midfield; we put a lot of effort into invisible work,” he added.
“We were strong in the challenges and played with composure. It is important not to lose the ball just as you win it because this is what they like. It was like this in the end.”
Chilwell may have scored the goal but the German felt Mendy’s role was priceless.
“He was concentrated in the first half; they trouble you with long throws and set pieces. They created big chances and he was the key to the clean sheet,” he continued.