Tuchel 'proud' of Chelsea players despite FA Cup defeat
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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has revealed he told his players he was “proud” of them immediately after their FA Cup final defeat to Liverpool. Just as they lost the Carabao Cup final in February to the Reds, Chelsea lost on penalties at Wembley after a 0-0 draw across 120 minutes. Mason Mount’s miss proved costly in sudden death as the Londoners endured more domestic cup woe, losing their third successive FA Cup final.
The Blues produced a brilliant performance against the Champions League finalists but the reigning world champions were unable to find the back of the net in normal time or extra time. Mason Mount then saw his penalty saved in the shootout before Kostas Tsimikas scored to seal a 6-5 spot-kick triumph for the Merseyside outfit.
Yet Tuchel was still pleased with the effort from his players after a titanic tussle under the iconic arch, saying post-match: “Like in the last final, the Carabao Cup, no regrets. I told the team I was proud.
“We played 240 minutes of finals against maybe the most dangerous attacking team in the world and it’s 0-0. We lose on penalties and we are disappointed and sad, but at the same time proud because we showed everything that we need. I was sure during the match the momentum was on our side but unfortunately I was not right.”
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On how Chelsea can close the gap to Carabao Cup and FA Cup winners Liverpool, Tuchel added: “We proved four times this season that we can produce peak performances to compete with them at this kind of level. All the results were deserved and could’ve gone our way or their way.
“The difference for me throughout the season is they can do it Wednesday-Saturday, Wednesday-Saturday. They arrived with a big squad, everybody but Fabinho, in a good rhythm. We had many players out and N’Golo [Kante] with one training session and Mateo [Kovacic] playing with an ankle that I didn’t know it was possible to fit into a shoe. This is where the gap comes from.”
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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp respectfully paid tribute to Chelsea’s performance level post-match: “It’s heartbreaking to be honest for Chelsea. In a shootout there must be a loser and they are unlucky again.
“They would have deserved it [the win] exactly the same way, like in the Carabao Cup – that’s how small the margins are. I couldn’t be more proud of my boys, the shift they put in, how hard they fought.
“All of these things, missing good chances, overcoming good moments from Chelsea, then having really good moments ourselves. Then in the penalty shootout, it was nerve-racking, my nails are gone but I really feel for Chelsea – for the second time, 120 minutes and you get nothing, that’s too hard. But for us I’m pretty happy.”
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