Thomas Tuchel was left frustrated by Chelsea’s finishing in Tuesday’s 1-1 Champions League semi-final first-leg draw with Real Madrid, adamant they would have been deserved winners had they shown more “composure and precision”.
Chelsea took the lead in Madrid thanks to Christian Pulisic’s fine individual work in the 14th minute, though they should have already been in front.
Just a few moments earlier, Timo Werner latched on to a Pulisic header across goal but shot at Thibaut Courtois from close range when he seemed destined to score.
The German also missed a decent chance late in the first half, with Karim Benzema having equalised in the interim period.
But that Benzema strike was Madrid’s only shot on target, the first time since at least 2003-04 that Los Blancos have had so few in a home Champions League match.
Madrid have progressed from their two previous Champions League knockout ties with English opposition when drawing the first leg at home, though, and Tuchel rued his side’s inability to finish them off at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
“We started very well, very aggressive with courage and quality. We deserved to win the first half,” he told BT Sport. “We had lots of chances and half-chances where we missed precision with the last ball.
“Unfortunately they scored from a set piece – nothing else normally for us to defend, we didn’t allow any chances – so it was a disappointing result at half-time.
“It was important that we stayed calm, didn’t lose confidence and we fought back into the game.
5 – Thomas Tuchel has faced Real Madrid more often without losing in the UEFA Champions League than against any other opponent (W1 D4) – in the competition’s history, he is the only manager to face Los Blancos as many as five times without ever losing. Elite. #UCL pic.twitter.com/QQGvAdKci0
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 27, 2021
“I felt the second half was a tactical game and the speed and intensity dropped. You could feel that we were a bit tired with only two days between two away games. We suffered today from that.
“If we had one more day to recover we would have had a big chance to keep the intensity up and maybe hurt Madrid also in the second half. This was not possible and we have to live with 1-1.”
Tuchel felt their initial one-goal lead was more than justified and reiterated his opinion Madrid were fortunate to be level at the interval.
The German, who is the only Champions League coach to face Madrid five times without losing, then allowed a little frustration at his team’s finishing to come to light.
“It was well deserved [Pulisic’s goal] and, like I said, we should have won the first half,” he continued.
“We should have scored a minimum one more goal. The chances were there, the half-chances were there, we had many ball wins, good control, good attacks. We were very confident, looked very strong.
“The goal came more or less out of nothing but that can always happen when you are faced with individual quality from Real Madrid.
“A bit more composure and precision in front of goal and we could have won the first half and been a deserved winner. It’s not like this, so we live with 1-1 and try to win the next game.”
The two teams meet again at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday, with Tuchel aiming to reach a second successive Champions League final having lost in last season’s showpiece with Paris Saint-Germain.
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