Thomas Tuchel emphasised how hard Chelsea worked to not only beat Manchester City but keep a clean sheet against them.
Chelsea reached the FA Cup final by beating City 1-0 at Wembley via a Hakim Ziyech goal. They also had two further goals correctly ruled out for offside. Overall, they fully deserved their place in the final as they became the team to end City’s quadruple dream.
It was another marker of how much they have progressed since Tuchel took charge in late January. This was the first time he has ever outwitted Pep Guardiola as a manager and Chelsea now have a cup final to look forward to.
Facing the winners of Sunday’s other semi-final between Leicester and Southampton, Chelsea will go into that game as the favourites. If they can play at a similar level to the one they managed against City, they will fancy their chances.
Indeed, Tuchel was extremely proud to see how his players stepped up against the champions elect.
He told BBC Sport: “It was a very, very strong performance. Very happy and proud.
“We played an excellent 35 minutes in the first half. We had to suffer for 10 minutes. We then played another 30 minutes so strong and got the lead, could have got another.
“It was a very strong performance and I am very proud of my team. Very happy they performed to this level today. I am happy. Everybody who is on the pitch needs to perform.
“A good defence is also having the ball and ball possession. It is a very good clean sheet. We were not lucky to escape with a clean sheet, we worked hard for it.
“The guys are ready to cover for each other if anyone loses a duel. We wanted to be brave today with the ball and against the ball and we did it. So happy.
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“It feels fantastic because we were playing the best team in Europe right now and we managed to close the gap for 90 minutes. We played a very strong first 35 minutes and in the second half another strong half an hour.
“At the end of each half we had to suffer and we also needed a bit of luck but it was a deserved win. I am so proud because it is so hard against City, you have to be on your top level. It was a quality performance.”
Tuchel explains Ziyech goal
Chelsea’s winner came from a combination between two of their summer signings who have been suffering with mixed form. Timo Werner set up Hakim Ziyech for a tap in that will boost both their confidences.
Tuchel was impressed with the way they linked up to break the deadlock.
He said: “It was very nicely played. We escaped the pressure and we had a deep run from Mason [Mount] and the run from Timo.
“Hakim could finish from Timo’s delivery which was crucial because it was decisive.
“We had a big chance with Timo, a big chance with Ziyech and two offside goals, so it would have been possible to be more calm in that last 15 minutes but I like the effort and hard work.
“It was a good mix between ball possession and defending.”