Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel praised his players for handling “another level of distraction” to a 3-1 win over Norwich on Thursday.
The Blues arrived at Carrow Road hours after learning owner Roman Abramovich had been sanctioned by the UK Government and had his assets frozen.
That meant Chelsea required a special license to carry out this midweek clash, but goals from Trevoh Chalobah, Mason Mount and Kai Havertz still claimed all three points.
“No, the evening doesn’t feel weird. It helps to have a fixture to come on game day,” said Tuchel.
“That’s what we do very often. This is a rhythm that everyone is used to and it gives you a structure to feel safe. You have lunch together, you rest, you have a pre-match or tactical meeting and then you go. It helps.
“Of course, there is a lot of distraction, another level of distraction with sanctions and we can feel that. The players talked about it, they were aware of it and we accepted it, but the rhythm, the excitement and the love of the game helped us.
“We ask it to work hard, sweat it, and work together. It’s the best thing to get back to focus and enjoy what we’re doing.
I think the team showed a lot of character and we can be proud that they have produced performances like this under the circumstances.Thomas Tuchel
“Total credit, I think the team showed great character and we can be proud that they have produced performances like this under all circumstances. It tells us that we are right to trust them, that the attitude is right, the culture at the club is right and we keep going. ”
Goals from Chalobah and Mount within 14 minutes gave Chelsea a regular win, but, when Norwich were awarded a second-half penalty, the dynamic changed.
Teemu Pukki missed the penalty, but, despite Norwich’s late pressure, the Blues added a third when Havertz fired in full time.
Unsettledness remained at Stamford Bridge, but victory at Norfolk extended their advantage over fifth-placed Manchester United to nine points, with one game in the hands of the Reds.
“The situation will not go away, maybe tomorrow it will change again, but it will not go away,” added the Chelsea manager.
“Day in and day out, with the way we got to the game, how everything was organized, it was pretty smooth as usual, but with a lot of noise around.
“Like I said, the schedule for the day will help. You go into your routine and I’m glad they can show again that they like to work hard, work as a team and they can make another win. “
Norwich head coach Dean Smith saw his side put on an impressive performance in the second half, but they remained bottom of the table, five points from safety.
“The second half we played the way we wanted to play, the way our supporters wanted to play and the way I wanted us to play,” he said.
On Chelsea’s off-field issues, Smith added: “Thomas is a head football coach like me, not a politician.
“What has happened today is not under Thomas’ control or the players control and they will focus on their football.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/thomas-tuchel-praises-chelsea-players-for-performing-amid-off-field-chaos-41434071.html Thomas Tuchel praises Chelsea players for performing amid chaos off the pitch