Thomas Tuchel was full of praise for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, after his first Chelsea goal in almost three years as the Blues overcame Crystal Palace 2-0 in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
Loftus-Cheek got the opener in a tense affair with 65 minutes played, and Tuchel hopes the goal will enable the midfielder to build some momentum heading into the final weeks of the season.
When asked about his performance in his post-match interview with ITV Sport, he said: “He was excellent, and was also very strong in the matches against Southampton and Real Madrid.
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“He would’ve deserved to start, but honestly we expected Palace to play a back four and wanted to have Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta] as a captain on the field, so we had Ruben from the bench and I’m very happy with him at the moment.
“This performance is what he shows in training, but it’s not enough because he needs to show it on the pitch.
“I think he’s been hiding his talent and his potential for a long time in his career. He’s capable of producing performances that everybody sees on the pitch, but he’s also capable of producing performances that hides all of his quality.
“[The way he played on Saturday] This is the way to go and he needs to take it step by step so that he continues to grow in confidence.”
Tuchel reflected more on the game as a whole, the challenges of a gruelling fixture schedule and the difficulties facing a tactically-astute Palace side.
“It has been very challenging physically. I think we’re the team that has played the most in Europe I and it’s also hard to mentally go to all of these different competitions, especially with the exit from the Champions League behind us. In light of that, I thought the performance was very controlled, very serious.
“We took very good care of the counter-attacks before they could create them. This is their biggest strength.
“If you a goal from a set-piece and go 1-0 down in these kinds of matches, then you might not be able to score. It’s very hard to play against a team with a new system, which they changed twice.”

Chelsea's German head coach Thomas Tuchel (R) watches as Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp shouts at his players during the English League Cup final football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium, north-west London on February 27, 2

Image credit: Getty Images

The German can now look forward to a match against Liverpool and compatriot Jurgen Klopp on May 14, in a repeat of this season’s Carabao Cup final that the Reds won 11-10 on penalties.
“I’m happy to be a part of it again and I cannot be more excited or proud because it’s a huge competition.
“To play in another final again in Wembley, and a second in the FA Cup is incredible - I’m very grateful and we will be ready.”

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