Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was full of praise for Malang Sarr and his “strong” and “reliable” performance in the Carabao Cup semifinal first-leg win over Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.
It was Sarr’s fourth start in the league cup, his sixth in all competitions under Tuchel.
Similar to Saul Niguez, Sarr had a slow start to his Chelsea career and likely won over a lot of fans with his display in midweek.
The 22-year-old defender made four tackles, the second-highest in the game after Saul, and helped Chelsea control the game with his 92.6 percent accurate passes.
Tuchel was clearly happy to have Sarr as a defensive option amid Chelsea’s congested fixtures.
“He played a good match again, very good — [I’m] very happy that he did so,” the German told Chelsea TV about Sarr’s performance against Spurs.
“Like all the matches when we needed him, he was reliable, he was there.
“I have the feeling that he knows his role very clearly, he appreciates being in the team and when necessary, he steps up and shows he can be a strong teammate and a strong player.”
Sarr will have a very good chance to start again as Chelsea face non-league side Chesterfield in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
However, given the number of games that Chelsea will play in the coming weeks, it is unlikely Chelsea would allow any early January departure.
Sarr was not the only player who impressed Tuchel in the Spurs win, obviously.
The Chelsea boss went on to praise Saul, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who, like Sarr, performed well despite their lack of game time recently.
“We need our guys back, we need our squad back,” he added.
“You can see that the guys I mentioned who started and came on from the bench were influential against Tottenham — that’s exactly what you need.”