Thomas Tuchel says it was ‘important’ that Chelsea responded to their recent defeats after watching his side win 3-1 against Southampton at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea returned to winning ways after successive defeats to Manchester City and Juventus over the past week, securing a hard-fought 3-1 victory against the Saints to move top of the Premier League.
Trevoh Chalobah opened the scoring for the west Londoners inside nine minutes after heading in unmarked at the far post, before Timo Werner saw a goal disallowed just before the break – an incident which was greeted furiously by Tuchel and remarkably the 16th goal Werner has seen chalked off in a Chelsea shirt.
Southampton fought back in the second half and equalised through James Ward-Prowse’s penalty after a clumsy foul from Ben Chilwell, only for the Saints’ captain to later be dismissed for a rash challenge on Jorginho.
The red card proved the turning point as Werner’s first Premier League goal of the season put Chelsea back ahead, before the result was sealed through Chilwell’s superb strike as the Blues – to Tuchel’s delight – returned to winning ways.
“After two defeats we had to be careful that we didn’t start being too sad or too worried because there was a chance to be on 16 points,” Tuchel told BBC Radio 5Live.
“It was important to have a better performance than the last two games, that we sharpened our mindset so that we are not afraid to lose. It was nice to play the way we did and get a deserved win.”
Tuchel was cautioned following an angry reaction to Werner’s disallowed effort, with the German admitting his frustrations at seeing the goal ruled out for a foul in the build-up.
“I was very angry because I could never believe this could happen in the Premier League where you would go back to a 50/50 that wasn’t even in close connection to the goal,” he said.
“I understood before the season that we didn’t want soft touches, that we wanted a contact game.
“We are here today in the middle of London in the rain in an intense game but the ref disallowed the goal.”
Ward-Prowse’s red card came after a needless lunge when pressing Jorginho deep inside the Chelsea half, and Tuchel admits his instinct was that the challenge provided unnecessary ‘risk’.
“I did not even see it properly but it looked heavy and it wasn’t not necessary to take that kind of risk.”
Chelsea return to action after the international break with a trip to face Brentford on October 16.