Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says he will come away satisfied despite a 2-1 final day loss to Aston Villa, because the Blues finished fourth to make sure of Champions League football at Stamford Bridge, but admits his charges got “lucky”. Chelsea’s defeat in the Midlands was their final match before taking on Manchester City in the Champions League final next Saturday.
Tuchel’s charges fell 2-1 at Villa Park due to Bertrand Traore and Anwar El Ghazi’s goals, though Ben Chilwell pulled one back late on in the Midlands.
The Londoners also ended the match with 10 men after Cesar Azpilicueta saw red at the death.
Despite defeat, the Blues snuck into fourth spot thanks to London rivals Tottenham’s 4-2 win over Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
Chelsea finish one point ahead of the Foxes, who end up fifth, despite suffering two defeats in their final three leagues games of the season.
And Tuchel said post-match: “”In the end it was a defeat, and we were lucky to escape.
“We knew in the end that we didn’t need to take the maximum risk but that was the last five minutes.
“It was our responsibility to lose today, we had enough chances. The performance was by far good enough to win the game.
“We did not score, conceded two cheap goals and it was a defeat in the end. We are lucky to escape today. We did not hit the target, the last touch was no precise enough.
“It was a very strong last half an hour and we had two big chances to score. We fought, tried everything but forgot to score.
“Tomorrow [I will take] a lot [of satisfaction]. Today we have lost and it never feels good. But we did the main target and there is nothing to worry about now, nothing to regret.
“We had a very difficult objective to reach and we did it, so huge congratulations for the effort and the performances that we put in.”
Chelsea now look towards a trip to Porto next weekend when they go head-to-head with Premier League champions Man City for the European Cup.
The Blues have only won the competition once, back in 2012, while City are seeking their maiden triumph.
And despite a disappointing end to the domestic campaign having also lost the FA Cup final recently to Leicester, Tuchel insists Chelsea will be high on confidence.
The German said: “You can see that we are still a young team with players who fight for their first trophy and fight for their first time in big, big matches.
The Senagelese shot-stopper was replaced at half-time due to a knock picked up while trying to prevent Traore’s goal.
It is currently unknown whether or not Mendy will miss the final in Portugal next weekend with updates expected in the coming days.
Tuchel is looking to go one better this year than last year when he lost in the Champions League showpiece with Paris Saint-Germain to Bayern Munich.
The 47-year-old took over Chelsea when they were 10th in the league back in January after Frank Lampard was sacked and led them to a top-four finish.
He can now deliver their first piece of silverware since they won the FA Cup against Manchester United under Maurizio Sarri in 2018.