Thomas Tuchel warned his team that the job was not yet done after Chelsea moved closer to qualifying for the Champions League by taking revenge for their loss to Leicester in the FA Cup final with a 2-1 win over Brendan Rodgers’ team on Tuesday.
Antonio Rüdiger’s first goal of the season and a penalty from Jorginho were enough for Chelsea to take third place against Leicester, whose hopes of finishing in the top four will depend on their victory over Tottenham on Sunday if Liverpool win their last two matches. It was a great show from Chelsea in front of 8,000 fans at Stamford Bridge. However, Tuchel is not taking anything for granted, warning his side not to let go when they visit Aston Villa in their final game.
“It was like a huge effort and a top level performance,” said the Chelsea coach. “We have to push him over the line on Sunday. It was full of intensity, hunger and ambition. We played several minutes with a lot of quality for a well-deserved victory. It was not the time to celebrate. It is not more than three points. There’s another one to catch on Sunday. We must be prepared.
Tuchel said Chelsea, who hung on after a late goal from Kelechi Iheanacho, were inspired by their fans. “It’s a completely different game – football with spectators,” he said. “It was exactly what we wanted. We want everyone who comes to the stadium to feel this energy of this team.
“You come for this energy. You don’t come just for fancy moves. It must be easy to support us. We need to bring the supporters to the fore. We believe this team does that. Sometimes we struggle with decisions and we don’t reward ourselves. But it was a huge boost.
Chelsea will assess N’Golo Kanté after the midfielder limps in the first half. “I hope N’Golo is not injured,” Tuchel said. “He told me he was out before an injury. He felt his hamstrings. He was worried about getting hurt if he kept playing.
Tuchel’s counterpart Rodgers said: “Liverpool have a few games, Chelsea have a tough game at Aston Villa. I’ve always said we just have to focus on ourselves.
“The players have been exceptional. We’re still in the top four and we have a game to play.
“If we fail right after 38 games, then a team with the eighth biggest budget fighting against the level we have been fighting at means we fought really hard and just missed.
Tuchel said his players knew Daniel Amartey threw a Chelsea pennant over his shoulder after Saturday’s final. Mason Mount and Thiago Silva appeared to have a heated exchange with Amartey, an unused replacement, during a mass brawl towards the end. “I know there was an incident, but I didn’t talk about it before the game or in the meetings,” Tuchel said. “I’m not doing that but I think the players were well aware. “