Chelsea v Sheffield United: Match in pictures
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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel admitted that his side failed to produce their best football after the Blues battled to a closely-fought 2-0 victory over Sheffield United on Sunday afternoon. An unfortunate own goal from Ollie Norwood gave the hosts a first-half advantage before Hakim Ziyech put the result beyond all doubt with an impressive finish in the dying seconds of the match.
The result saw Chelsea become the third side to book their place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, after Manchester City progressed with a win over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday and Southampton breezed past Championship outfit Bournemouth.
The Blues went into the match as heavy favourites but made hard work of the spirited Blades, who came agonisingly close to finding the back of the net on a number of occasions.
David McGoldrick spurned a golden first-half chance to head home from point blank range, while former Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster narrowly missed the target with a late strike from the edge of the box.
Despite Sunday’s match marking Chelsea’s seventh clean sheet in a row in all competitions, Tuchel was less than impressed with his side’s efforts after the final whistle.
The German boss told BBC One that the Blues had luck on their side, claiming that his players were fatigued after avoiding defeat in each of their last 14 matches.
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“It was a tough match,” said Tuchel. “We had a good first half where we controlled everything but second half we lost control.
“We were clearly tired now. I could see after 14 matches consecutive. I could feel us tired, a lack of concentration, many little faults and strong opponent in the second half.
“We were lucky in the second half to keep the clean sheet. It was not the first time in 14 matches when we were lucky and allowed too many chances, but it can arrive and it’s important in the end to go through.”
Sheffield United produced a much stronger performance than the result gave them credit for, with Jason Tindall’s side looking far better than last week when they were subjected to a 5-0 hammering at the hands of Leicester City.
However, Tuchel suggested that Chelsea’s lacklustre efforts allowed the visitors to keep their foot in the door, stressing that the number of mistakes during the second half was not acceptable.
“We let them come back, because like I said we had full control in first half and a big chance with Christian [Pulisic] to finish the game early,” added Tuchel.
“After that we had too many mistakes, easy mistakes. We lost duels and we lost a bit of concentration and momentum.
“Honestly I could feel it in training, since some days we feel a bit tired and have a lack of concentration, it’s not too easy. It’s normal. It can happen.
“In a game it becomes more and more problematic to keep the level up so these things can happen.
“I’m happy we could help from the bench with the guys who came in. In the end we have a win and take it.”
Chelsea will be looking to continue their winning ways with another victory over Premier League strugglers West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, ahead of a return to Champions League action four days later.
The Blues will take on Porto over two legs for a place in the competition’s last four as Tuchel seeks European glory at the first time of asking.
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