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Tuchel full of praise for Chelsea players following West Ham clash

Thomas Tuchel has heaped praise on his team’s performance following Chelsea’s massive 1-0 win against West Ham United on Saturday.

Champions League football was at stake as the Hammers took on the Blues at the London Stadium in a Premier League top-four six-pointer.

Given the significance of the match and the sides’ current positions in the standings, a close encounter was well on the cards.

Though the game failed to produce much in terms of clear-cut chances, high tempo and a keenly-contested battle were well on the menu.

Chelsea got off to a flying start, creating a few decent opportunities but failed to capitalise on any of them.

West Ham came close to breaking the deadlock in the 36th minute, with Tomas Soucek’s effort forcing a last-gasp clearance from Cesar Azpilicueta.

The captain made a vital block on the goal line that had to be checked by VAR for a potential handball.

It was all Chelsea from that moment on, with Timo Werner grabbing his first Premier League goal for the Blues since mid-February.

A quick passage of play saw Ben Chilwell set up the German for a routine tap-in that provided the visitors with the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Werner spurned a golden chance to score his second on the day and double his team’s lead in the 55th minute after sending the ball wide from point-blank range.

Fabian Balbuena’s 81st-minute expulsion helped Chelsea keep hold of their narrow lead and claim all-important three points.

In the post-match interview, Tuchel was full of praise for his players.

“The boys are very, very happy in the dressing room, it was a great performance, an amazing result and I think a well-deserved win for us,” he told Sky Sports.

“The first 10-15 minutes in the second half, we did not come out very well from the dressing room, but the last half-hour was excellent and the first half was excellent.

“It was a pretty normal preparation and we did not talk one more word about Super League from Tuesday on. I felt everybody was very concentrated and enjoying the focus on the game.”

The German boss also drew comparison between David Moyes’ side and Atletico Madrid.

“Honestly, they reminded me a little bit of Atletico,” he added.

“You can win ball possession, but to really hurt them with ball possession is hard. You have to really earn your chances. You have to be very, very smart and on the lowest level of crucial mistakes in midfield.”

Chelsea are now three points clear of West Ham in fourth and are marching towards a top-four finish.

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