Chelsea took the Champions League Cup home for the second time after a Kai Havertz goal sealed a tense 1-0 victory over Manchester City in Saturday’s final, watched by a limited crowd of just over 14,000, in Porto, shattering Pep Guardiola’s dream of lifting the trophy for the third time.
The London club may have finished fourth in the Premier League, a huge 19 points behind the champions City, but this, remarkably, was their third win over Guardiola’s side in six weeks. According to ESPN, Guardiola’ over-thought his line-up and tactics, when simplicity would have been sensible.
Instead, it was Chelsea’s German manager Thomas Tuchel who took the spoils, having kept his approach simple and stuck to tried and tested methods. For Tuchel, the triumph comes after his Paris St Germain side suffered defeat in last season’s final against Bayern Munich and just four months after he took over from Frank Lampard at the west London club.
“To share it with everybody is incredible. We made it. Wow. I don’t know what to feel,” said Tuchel. “I was so grateful to arrive a second time (in the final). I felt different. The (players) were determined to win this. We wanted to be a stone in their (City’s) shoe. We encouraged everybody to step up and step out, to be braver,” Reuters quoted Tuchel as saying.
Guardiola said despite the loss, it was an exceptional season for the club. “I would like to say it was an exceptional season for us,” said the Spaniard.
“It was a dream for us to be here, unfortunately, we could not win. Decisions are always to try to win the game. The way we played the game in the second half, they had one counter attack with Pulisic. They’re a really good team, but we competed perfectly against them. In the second half we deserved to score one goal but we couldn’t do it. I would like to say it was an exceptional season for us. Unfortunately we couldn’t win. We tried, but we couldn’t do it and will work harder from here,” said Guardiola after the match.
Meanwhile, Tuchel has hinted that he may be close to extending his contract at the Blues as per an ESPN report.
When asked by ESPN whether talks would soon begin on a contract extension, Tuchel said: “I’m not even 100% sure but maybe I have a new contract now with that win. It can be. My manager said something about it but I do not know. Let’s check this first. I spoke to the owner right now on the pitch. I think it was the best moment for a first meeting. Or the worst as from now on it can only get worse!”
Guardiola said he will probably take a break to spend quality time with family. “We played in the Champions League final, we won the Premier League again and competed well all season. Now, I want to go home with my family I have not seen for a long time, take a break, and start working on how to approach next season, Guardiola told ESPN.