Chelsea boss Tuchel savours semi-final progress after 'tough, tough fight' against Porto

By Sacha Pisani 14 April 2021 100
Chelsea boss Tuchel savours semi-final progress after 'tough, tough fight' against Porto

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel revelled in the club's Champions League semi-final berth after surviving a tense last-eight tie with Porto.

Porto claimed a last-gasp 1-0 win on Tuesday thanks to Mehdi Taremi's stunning acrobatic stoppage-time strike, but the Premier League side still advanced to the final four 2-1 on aggregate.

It was a tough battle at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan – the same venue as last week's opening leg due to coronavirus protocols – with only three shots on target (one for Chelsea) throughout the return fixture.

But Chelsea saw off the Portuguese visitors over two legs to reach the semi-finals for the eighth time, more than any other English side in Champions League history.

"We accepted what was needed was a tough, tough fight," Tuchel told BT Sport as Chelsea prepare for their first semi-final appearance since 2013-14.

"Maybe on the television it was not so nice to watch but on the sidelines it was a very intense game, a very fast game.

"It was a tough fight and very hard to play against them to escape the pressure. They attack in a fluid and aggressive way. They change positions all the time. They come from behind, they overlap and you have to adapt to many movements. With every minute we did it better and better after a tough start.

"We defended well and deserved a clean sheet. We had the better chances - not a lot – but the better half chances. We could not finish it off with a goal so we had to hang in there and the guys did that.

"Overall we deserved to beat Porto. It was a tough 180 minutes."

It could be an all-English semi-final, with Chelsea set to face either Liverpool or Real Madrid in the final four.

LaLiga champions Madrid carry a 3-1 lead over Premier League holders Liverpool heading into Wednesday's second leg at Anfield.

Asked whether he would like to avoid Liverpool in the semi-finals, Tuchel added: "I like it in Champions League not to play in teams from your own league, it gives the feeling more of a European competition.

"The game is far from over and I will watch it for sure. It's a pleasure to watch it as a semi-finalist.

"It's a great achievement and tomorrow we will watch the game. Everything is possible. We will take what we get."

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