Thomas Tuchel described it as a perfect evening as he saw his Chelsea side move into the top four with a 2-0 win over Newcastle.
Chelsea quickly set about applying pressure to their struggling visitors, Thomas Tuchel’s side earning an early succession of corners, although goalkeeper Karl Darlow wasn’t overly troubled in the opening exchanges.
The Blues also saw a penalty appeal waved away on 15 minutes as Jamaal Lascelles challenged Tammy Abraham in the box, getting the ball but also getting some of the man, with Abraham eventually being replaced with an issue with his right leg.
Chelsea did eventually take the lead in the 31st minute though, the industrious Timo Werner causing problems down the left with his direct running. The German advanced towards the byline before putting a low cross into the middle which was not dealt by the Magpies, the ball dropping to substitute Olivier Giroud who fired home.
Eight minutes later and Chelsea made it two, Newcastle failing to deal with a corner, the ball falling at the feet of the unopposed Werner at the back post as the summer signing finally ended long-standing goalscoring drought.
Newcastle showed signs of improvement after the break, but struggled to really challenge the recalled Kepa Arrizabalaga, with Chelsea seeing out the game with relative ease.
The win maintains Chelsea’s unbeaten start under Thomas Tuchel, winning their last four, and the German coach described it as a ‘perfect evening’.
1 – Chelsea have conceded just one goal in their five Premier League games under Thomas Tuchel – the joint-lowest number of goals conceded across a manager's first five games in the competition (along with José Mourinho at Chelsea & Peter Taylor at Leicester). Organised. #CHENEW pic.twitter.com/CUHFjkdXNt
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 15, 2021
“It was a very good night, the perfect evening,” he told BBC Sport. We knew we had the opportunity to jump into the top four. We took this chance, the guys get a well deserved two days off now.
“Second half was not our best, we struggled with decision making, confidence and technical mistakes. But we always accept the fight. I got the impression we don’t want to lose what we built in the first half, I prefer us to think about what we can create.
“It was a long wait for Timo Werner, he was decisive in the last matches with assists, today again with an assist and then a goal. It is most important for the strikers, there are no video tapes or talks that can do that for them. It is deserved.”
The former PSG boss was also questioned on his surprise decision to recall Kepa between the sticks.
“The decision we took together with the goalkeeper coach and the goalkeepers,” he said. “We see them as one team competing for one place. You need to feel safe to be the best in this position.
“He did good in the last game and to give him a match in the Premier League, we need two or three strong goalkeepers to achieve our goals. I’m very happy with his performance but Edouard Mendy is the number one and he will return to goal.”
— kepa Arrizabalaga (@kepa_46) February 15, 2021
Chelsea’s upturn in form saw them move into the top four, leapfrogging West Ham and Liverpool into the Champions League qualification places.
“There was a big gap between us when we started, it’s not over, now we’ve made it and it’s the moment to hang in and keep on showing the hunger we had,” Tuchel added. “Now we’ve made this big step today we have to follow up and not lose any intensity or determination.”
Next up for the Blues is an away trip to face a Southampton side who have lost six league games on the spin.