Chelsea 2-1 Club America: Did Koulibaly and Sterling play? Every word Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said after the victory over Club America.
Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly didn’t play the game against Club America while Mason Mount and Timo Werner was on the score sheet.
What do you think of that first preseason runout?
It was a really challenging match against a very challenging opponent. Normally, you would start a little against a team in a lesser level, but this was quite difficult. Additionally, the setting—playing in front of a large audience in a stadium against an opponent like America who are already in competition. It was hard.
“First half was tough for us to create clear chances, but we had one and couldn’t score. But we kept a clean sheet, and second half, we found better solutions and looked more dangerous. So good first half, very good second half. We deserved to win, and I’m happy we took it.”
How pleased were you to see Ben Chilwell back starting?
“We are super happy that he’s back, and you can see it’s a difference from training to the game, and he will take his time. He will get this time because he deserves it. We will support him on his way back, and it was good for him. I’m happy nobody is injured after a physical game and physical two weeks. Same for Chilly. I’m happy that he’s back.”
Thoughts on playing here at the stadium?
It’s a massive, fantastic stadium. fantastic environment It was nearly too much for a debut game following two weeks of rigorous training. When you leave the practice field and are playing in this type of stadium against this type of opponent, it feels almost like a cold shower.
Reception Christian Pulisic has got a while in the U.S?
“For sure, it’s the first time in the U.S. since I’m in Chelsea. We can see everybody is excited about Christian. He is an American international player and captain for America, and he is an important player for us. I think he enjoys being in LA, Las Vegas, and now we go to Orlando. He enjoys being in his home country and playing for Chelsea and presents himself within the squad. Of course, we can clearly see the excitement around him.”
Do you believe Koulibaly can continue to perform at his best after signing a four-year contract?
“We really believe that, and that is why he is present. He was an important player, thus there were constantly rumors that he was leaving Napoli. However, obtaining him was always extremely challenging and ultimately impossible. It’s good that he accepts the challenge now since Thiago Silva, who is even older, more seasoned, and still at the top of his game, is also available. We hope Kalidou will be able to play for us for many years in the same way. He has to be in top form, thus he needs to be completely fit and prepared for the task.”
“He is now training outside after he arrived yesterday, and we’ve very happy. He knows some of the players – he plays with Edou with the national team and knows Jorgi from Napoli – so I think from this side, it will be quick that he feels welcome in the group. It’s a nice group, and everyone is happy he is with us now.”
“He brings experience, quality, top defending, quality, height, everything we’re looking for to play a back three of back four. It’s a brilliant signing, another brilliant signing for us, and we hope that he can show his quality as soon as possible.
What are your thoughts on Conor Gallagher’s performance, and what do you think is next for Timo Werner this summer?
“We need to see, but everybody is responsible for their own situation, as is Timo. Timo played 45 like everybody else, and he scored. That’s what counts, and from there, we go. There is always stuff to improve, but it’s the first match. Kai (Havertz) had a big chance, Michy (Batshuayi) had a big chance, Timo took his chance, and so did Mason (Mount).
“I count on the facts they become more experienced and maybe more calm and adapt more and more. They are still young players, and this is what we want from them: that they stay confident and stay focused and do what they need to do as strikers.
“With Conor, the same as a midfield player. Conor trains at a really high level, and you can clearly see it was the right decision to let him go on loan. He made a huge step in his development at Crystal Palace and became an England player. We can see this clearly in training. It was a very good start and a good match for him.
“Now, for him, it’s important he gets used to our principles of the game, to understand when to move and when not to move, and his work rate is outstanding, and he has such a big heart. He can be a big asset for us.”
Important to help come out and help grow the sport?
“If we can, we are always happy to come [to America]. The facilities are good, and the players like to be here in training camps and enjoy their bit of free time. These are huge weeks, and I can feel the excitement around the teams and sports in general in America.
“Purely as a coach, you would like to maybe not spend too much time in the heat and in different timezones, but this is nowadays life at a big club. So we are used to it and make the most of it. The players are very happy, very committed to this kind of effort, and that’s why it’s, so far, very well done and organised.”
Does Ethan Ampadu stand a chance of succeeding with you?
Everyone is given a chance. Due to injuries or the fact that we had too many players for the two teams of twenty that we utilized, several young kids had to be left out of the squad today, which made me a little sad. Others were deserving of playing. Harvey Vale, for instance, performed admirably in practice and had a terrific campaign with England’s Under-19 team.
“Ethan did very well, I think. The position is a good position for him in the middle of the back three. He played a lot of vertical passes and did not play left to right only. He played through the lines with his passes and dribbles. So he was very active, and it was a go.
“They’ve already started their season, as you could see. We had to adjust to their rough style of play, and I’m glad nobody was hurt. It was occasionally precarious for a friendly game in the offseason, particularly for us in our opening game. But that was all right. We did not lose patience because we were able to accept and adjust to it.”