Hakim Ziyech spoke about Chelsea’s attacking plan that proved successful as the Blues secured a convincing 2-0 win (3-0 on aggregate) over Atletico Madrid.
There were a lot of eyebrows raised when the Chelsea line-up was first announced, particularly with the absence of Olivier Giroud up front.
But time and time again, Tuchel’s team selection worked its magic.
Timo Werner’s pace, and vision of the two creators behind him; Ziyech and Kai Havertz, caused a lot of trouble for Atleti.
With Diego Simeone’s men often forced to break out from their defensive shell to chase the one-goal deficit from the first leg, there was quite a lot of space for these three to exploit.
It was exactly what happened when Werner had space to run before laying out a perfectly-weighted assist for Ziyech’s opener in the first half.
According to Ziyech, it was part of the plan all along — and he and Havertz had only one thing in mind which is to take advantage of Werner’s pace.
“I think we find each other well,” the 27-year-old told Chelsea TV when asked about his combination with Havertz and Werner.
“Of course, Kai and I tried to find Timo in space and I think we did well.
“We could have finished the game [earlier] but we [unfortunately] didn’t.
“I think we used the space [that] Timo [had] really well.”
The Morocco international said that at the start of the game, there was a little bit of “panic’ from both sides.
“But I think after 10 minutes we had the control and there was a lot of space for us and we used the space well,” he added.
“We controlled the game.”
Tuchel absolutely deserves the credit for his team selection.
Werner is a great player, there is no doubt about that, but playing him in a lone No.9 would not work against every team.
You have to carefully choose which game to use him in that position — and so far, Tuchel has got it right.
The win over Liverpool at Anfield earlier this month, last night’s win over Atleti — Tuchel clearly knew when there would be space for Werner to run into.