Thomas Tuchel felt Chelsea were deserving Club World Cup winners and has challenged his “relentless” side to keep adding to their growing collection of titles in the remainder of the season.
Kai Havertz converted an extra-time penalty to secure a 2-1 win against Copa Libertadores holders Palmeiras, as Chelsea added success in FIFA’s showpiece club tournament to the Champions League and Super Cup titles they lifted last year.
Tuchel, who missed his team’s semi-final win over Al Hilal after testing positive for COVID-19 but was able to travel to the United Arab Emirates for the final, was full of praise for his charges after the contest.
While admitting Chelsea needed a little luck to avoid a shoot-out, the beaming former Paris Saint-German boss considered this a deserved victory.
“You need luck to score late on, but we were relentless, and we did not stop trying”, Tuchel told Channel 4, having seen Romelu Lukaku’s opener cancelled out by Raphael Veiga’s spot-kick.
“We did not give in. We had the lead, then lost it, but never stopped. It was deserved, but it’s also lucky when you score so late.
“The penalty [from Havertz] did not look nervous but for sure he was.
“You cannot be nervous in this situation. We trusted the statistics, and I’m happy for him.”
With his successful spot-kick, Havertz became the first man score the winning goal in a Champions League final before repeating the trick at the Club World Cup since Lionel Messi did likewise in 2011, and although Tuchel was keen to enjoy Chelsea’s first ever world title, he stressed there remains much to accomplish at Stamford Bridge.
“I’m able to be part of it [winning trophies] and I’m happy to have the chance. We said before in the dressing room ‘what an opportunity’,” he said.
“We all dream to have finals like this. There are no regrets. There are still things to win, and it never stops.”
Chelsea’s win belatedly made amends for 2012’s Club World Cup final loss to another Brazilian outfit in Corinthians.
The Blues have now collected every major trophy available to them during owner Roman Abramovich’s 19-year reign at Stamford Bridge.