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It was a difficult victory for Chelsea against Barnsley on Thursday night at the Oakwell Stadium, and it’s one that Thomas Tuchel will be glad to forget.
Chelsea were lucky to have scaled through the game against a hard pressing Tykes side, and it had to take both a Tammy Abraham goal and clearance to give Chelsea the win.
The home team owned the first half as Chelsea couldn’t put meaningful passes together, and passing out from the back was very difficult.
Before the restart, Tuchel made two changes, as he brought on Reece James and Antonio Rudiger in place of Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso, reverting to a 4-1-4-1 system.
Explaining his decision, Tuchel said: “We could not cope so well with the physical game, the first challenges, the second balls, we can do a lot better.
“I don’t want to be too harsh with the players because I can admit it’s also not easy, we made a lot of changes, the pitch is very, very difficult to play. It’s like this, sometimes you have to accept, step up and sometimes in cup games you take your stuff and go to the plane and be happy you’re in the quarter-finals.
“We changed formation to a 4-1-4-1 to escape the pressure a little bit easier in our own half and to make it easier to come to the opponent’s half to put the game higher.
“The guys did very, very good from the beginning [of the second half] it was much, much better, then we scored. But the feeling didn’t give us the self-confidence to continue. We got a little bit too passive, we slowed down the game a little bit too much, the passing intensity was not high enough.
“The opponent took more and more risks, the last 15 minutes we were clearly too deep. We have a lot of stuff to work on, I think everybody knows but everybody is also happy because we are through.”