Thomas Tuchel claims Hakim Ziyech deserved his goal in Chelsea’s 2-0 Champions League victory over Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night.
Chelsea advanced to the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win on the night and a 3-0 aggregate victory over Diego Simeone’s side in west London.
Emerson Palmieri scored the game’s winning goal in stoppage time with his first touch after coming on as a substitute moments before, but it was Ziyech who kicked things off in the 34th minute with a close-range finish.
With Mason Mount suspended, he started in the front three and rewarded Tuchel with a good finish.
Tuchel was overjoyed with Ziyech’s goal, which was his first at home since joining the club last summer.
“He played for that reason, he did it with Ajax, so we chose him for that,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said.
“He has a strong round of 16 experience, he knows how it feels to arrive in the knockout round and to go through the last eight. The first, second, and third reasons are that we missed Mason Mount and decided to replace his speed and work-rate with Hakim.
We were up against a three-man midfield with a lot of consistency, and we needed three midfielders minimum against the ball to have a consistent work-rate for this squad, which he always does.
He struggles a little with our style; he needs to adapt to the system and be more accurate with the ball, as well as find a better rhythm when it comes to taking risks and when it comes to not taking risks, but I am extremely pleased; this is a consistent performance from him.
He’s a hard worker, and I’m glad he was able to complete the transition with Kai and Timo; all three were involved, and it was a pleasant and decisive goal.”
Hakim Ziyech gave a positive assessment of his first goal and Chelsea’s success after the game.