ALMOST 80 minutes on the clock in Seville and Thomas Tuchel did something that surprised the majority of Chelsea fans.
With the game finely balanced, the German brought on veteran defender Thiago Silva and World Cup-winning defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante.
His side were 1-0 up with ten minutes to go against a very good Porto – but Tuchel knew exactly what he was doing.
He wanted to add experience and steel to his team, to see the game out and get back to the home leg with a lead, an away goal and clean sheet in tact.
It was a pragmatic approach from the Chelsea boss, who had the 5-2 defeat to West Brom in the back of his mind from the weekend.
He knew just how important a clean sheet would be after such a match, especially if it was in the quarter final of the Champions League.
Tuchel knew that the players might be shaky after such a heavy defeat to relegation battling West Brom.
He set his team up to win the match, but they had to grind out the result.
In fact, they ended up getting two away goals after a late one from Ben Chilwell.
It was a fantastic result and not the type of performance we’ve come to associate with Chelsea and a Tuchel team.
These are the kind of performances – and the kind of results – that win you trophies.
You simply cannot boss every game, and Tuchel knew Wednesday night was all about the result and all about keeping a clean sheet regardless.
Porto are a very good team and looked the team that were up for winning the most, they looked like they wanted it more as they setup with a high and intense press, showing energy and physicality.
Chelsea could have easily folded again after the weekend’s shocking performance and result.
But they dug in and they fought to an essential victory that they will now feel will give them enough to go through to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Tuchel has proven to be an adaptive manager who will rotate his players and use his whole squad, and he certainly did that this evening to ensure that his side came out on top in terms of the result.
We won’t see too many games where Tuchel and Chelsea will come out second best in terms of performance, but best in terms of result – but in Seville it was definitely one of those.