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‘I expected more’ – Tuchel admits Chelsea lacked ‘courage’ during FA Cup win over Barnsley

The German head coach wasn’t completely satisfied with his side’s performance at Oakwell Stadium

Thomas Tuchel has admitted that Chelsea lacked “courage” during their FA Cup fifth-round win over Barnsley.

Chelsea progressed to the quarter-finals of English football”s oldest competition by picking up a 1-0 win at Oakwell Stadium on Thursday night, as Tammy Abraham grabbed the only goal of the game just after the hour mark.

However, Barnsley, who are currently 13th in the Championship, were by no means outplayed by the Premier League giants, with Tuchel conceding that his side were well below their best.

What was said?

Tuchel told reporters post-match: “We changed to a back four [at half-time] and took Marcos [Alonso] out for this tactical change. Andreas [Christensen] had to go out because he had a headache.

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“The changes made it a little easier to get into the opponents half and overcome the first press.

“We did it well at the start of the second half and played constantly in the opponents half.

“We scored the goal and I had the feeling that they increased the risk but we stepped down in the little decisions. Not enough courage and it was too deep for a long, long time.

“We clearly can play better, so yes I expected more but not in terms that I am frustrated.

“If you lack a rhythm and a bit of self-confidence and you have to show on this pitch, against an opponent that takes all the risk and plays the game of his life, that is not easy. We can do better but I don’t want to be too hard on the players.”

Match summary 

Chelsea dominated the possession stakes at Oakwell, but Barnsley created far more clear cut openings than the visitors over the course of the 90 minutes.

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Callum Brittain squandered the hosts’ two best opportunities, with Blues goalkeeper Kepa producing a strong performance in the Blues’ net to record a rare clean sheet after stepping in for first-choice shot-stopper Edouard Mendy.

Tuchel’s team eventually made Barnsley pay for their wasteful finishing when Abraham tapped home a Reece James cross from close range in the 64th minute, with the goal standing despite a strong suspicion of offside with no VAR in use during the tie.

Chelsea ultimately saw out the final twenty-six minutes to book a place in the last eight, and they remain on course for their first FA Cup win since 2018.

Who will Chelsea play in the quarter-finals?

The draw for the next round of the competition took place before Chelsea kicked off against Barnsley, with the west London club paired with Premier League strugglers Sheffield United.

The tie will take place at Stamford Bridge on the weekend of March 20, and although Tuchel is expecting a tough examination against the Blades, he is glad the contest will be staged on home soil.

“It’s going to be a tough one. They are a very physical team that presses high,” he said. “They are organised but I am happy to have a home game. This is what we wanted.”

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