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Tuchel warns Chelsea stars Atletico tie not over, hails goal hero Giroud

CHELSEA manager Thomas Tuchel has hailed his players, especially Olivier Giroud, for the UEFA Champions League win at Atletico Madrid while still warning them not to become complacent.

The English club inflicted a rare home defeat on Atletico Madrid, winning 1-0 through Olivier Giroud’s spectacular overhead kick, although the match was played in Bucharest, Romania due to coronavirus restrictions.

“I’m super happy for the players and for my team that we have such a big reward for a top performance,” Tuchel told the Chelsea website. 

“It was very important that we were absolutely concentrated for all 96 minutes, that we accepted also that it is very hard to create chances, but we did all that.

“Mount and also Jorginho, we will be missing two crucial players in the next leg, that makes it not easy for us. I am very happy with the performance of everybody, that includes Mason. Again a big effort with a high intensity. Playing like this he has a big impact on our team.”

Giroud’s strike to give Chelsea the round of 16 first leg advantage was his sixth goal in his last four UEFA Champions League appearances, as many as he had netted in his previous 16 games in the competition. The six goals in the competition this season also marks his best return to date, according to Opta statistics. 

“He can be proud. If you see him on a daily basis you cannot be surprised,” Tuchel added.

“He is totally fit, his body is in shape, his physicality is at the top level. Mentally, he tries every day being a professional top player at this level and this is the level he needs to be. He is the guy who brings a mix of seriousness and joy in training.

“He’s always positive and it’s a big factor for the group. Whether he starts or is on the bench he has all these qualities.”

Chelsea face a tough run of fixtures, starting with a home Premier League clash against Manchester United, before the return leg in London in three weeks’ time, and Tuchel urged his players to stay alert.

“But honestly now we play Man U, Liverpool, Everton and Leeds, and we cannot get too comfortable, we cannot get lazy,” the German said.

“These games will push us to our limits and then we will think about solutions for the second game against Atletico.”

Atletico Madrid have only lost two of their 11 home games against English clubs in European competition, and both were against Chelsea. 

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