Thomas Tuchel admits it wasn’t easy for Chelsea to focus on Luton tie

Posted Thursday, March 03, 2022 by PA

Thomas Tuchel admits it wasn’t easy for Chelsea to focus on Luton tie

Thomas Tuchel hailed Chelsea’s distracted stars for ignoring the news of Roman Abramovich’s impending club sale to grind to FA Cup victory at Luton.

Romelu Lukaku’s late goal sunk Luton 3-2 at Kenilworth Road to send Chelsea into the sixth round, after earlier efforts for Saul Niguez and Timo Werner.

Reece Burke and Harry Cornick had second-tier Luton dreaming of a major upset, but the European champions struck back and found a route to a gritty victory.

Thomas Tuchel admits it wasn’t easy for Chelsea to focus on Luton tie
Romelu Lukaku scores Chelsea’s winner (Nick Potts/PA)

Blues owner Abramovich announced his intention to sell Chelsea an hour before kick-off at Luton.

And club manager Tuchel admitted his players deserved credit for keeping their focus on matters in hand and on the pitch at Luton.

“It was difficult in terms of the circumstances, a huge difference, you come from Wembley, the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, and then we gave the players a well-deserved day off,” said Tuchel.

“Then you have one day to turn around your mind in a new challenge.

“We also had a lot of players out so more or less no more defensive players, and a completely new set-up and competition.

“There was some noise today around the club of course, so it was not so easy to focus but we did very well I think.

“We conceded straight away but we had big chances to equalise, then go ahead.

“Then we conceded another one, the second half we stepped up and we pushed and were relentless but never impatient and we deserved to win.

“So full credit, we did not over-expect from us, and we played a very humble match, very seriously.”

Tuchel hopes Lukaku’s 11th goal of the campaign can push the £98million striker back to top form, with Werner having also impressed against the Hatters.

“Timo played well, I’m happy for that,” said Tuchel.

“Romelu got his goal. That’s why we had them on the pitch and left them on then pitch.

“In the moment this is the most important match for them, even if they think I should have played this match, or this match.

“We want them to play with full focus and to take this seriously. Because this is where you can grow self-confidence and get your confidence back. And Timo did very well and R got his goal, so it’s only positive.

“And this is why they are here, in cup matches like this where it’s hard to show permanently you are the better team. Or maybe all the qualities you need to show in the little moments to go through.

Thomas Tuchel admits it wasn’t easy for Chelsea to focus on Luton tie
Nathan Jones and Thomas Tuchel embrace (Nick Potts/PA)

“Then you are able to forget the game because you are in the next round. And this is what we did, and that’s why I’m happy.”

Luton boss Nathan Jones was proud of his team’s effort.

He said: “They’re one of the biggest clubs in the world. They’re World Club champions, Champions League winners and they’ve had to work hard – very, very hard – for their win. And that’s the important thing for us, that we tested them.

“They have more quality than us, they have more resources than us, but I’m proud of the group, proud of the club, proud of how the supporters responded.”




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