Updated: Dec 24, 2021
Chelsea beat west London neighbours Brentford in the Carabao Cup quarter-final on Wednesday night.
Thomas Tuchel said he was “very pleased” his Chelsea side “showed great mentality” when they beat Brentford on Wednesday night to book a place in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.
The Blues reached their third major semi-final in 11 months under Tuchel after beating the Bees 2-0 at the Brentford community stadium. Sweden defender Pontus Jansson’s own goal gave the visitors the lead before Jorginho's penalty wrapped up the win to set up a two-legged semi-final clash against London rivals Tottenham. Brentford had a few chances on the night but Kepa Arrizabalaga made three superb fine saves to deny Yoane Wissa, Mathias Jensen and Rico Henry. However, Tuchel had positive words for his Blues and the youngsters who stepped up in the absence of senior players. ‘I’m very pleased,’ said the German as Chelsea FC’s website quoted. ‘It was a brilliant performance and a brilliant result so I’m very happy for the players. They showed great mentality. ‘They were very disciplined, very structured, and within that structure we performed individually. It was very well done from them. ‘It was a brilliant result given the circumstances, the line-up and the situation. Some of the guys who played were youngsters and the other guys had not many minutes like Trevoh, Saul and Barkley but they stepped up in a tough place.’ On the the three Academy debutants Harvey Vale, Jude Soonsup-Bell, and Xavier Simons, Tuchel said: ‘They were good. They did very well, so congratulations to them. They were hugely involved in this win. It was their first time, and they had two training sessions with us, and I’m happy for them. ‘They did not train for one week when the Academy was closed because of Covid and then we invited them to come with us two days ago. They were listening carefully and they did their jobs tonight. ‘It also shows the character of the eight other guys. It’s easy to play with our guys, they are helpful and supportive.’
The Chelsea manager also hailed goalkeeper Kepa for the string of saves he made in the first half. ‘I’m very happy and super impressed with Kepa. It’s not a surprise anymore but he’s in that state of mind as a person, a character, and a sportsman where he just delivers. ‘This is what he shows every day in training and that’s why he gets the rewards and has these kind of performances. He was a big factor today in the first half especially.’ When asked if was an update on players returning from isolation, Tuchel replied: ‘If I understand it right, we need a negative test first of all and we had that for Romelu, Callum and Chilwell today. Ben will not be involved in the Aston Villa game but the other two can be on the pitch tomorrow if they test negative. ‘The guys have had some symptoms so we will have to see. The Premier League is the toughest place to play so it’s good news but I’m not over-excited because I need to check to see how they are.’
And on the Semi-final draw that will see them play Antonio Conte’s Spurs, Tuchel said: ‘It was clear it was going to be a tough draw because there are four strong teams. Tottenham is nice for our fans, a London derby but very difficult. ‘We did everything to be in the semi-final. We deserve it so we’re looking forward to it.’