Tuchel delighted with Chelsea's fighting spirit


Soccer Football - Champions League - Quarter Final Second Leg - Chelsea v Porto - Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville, Spain - April 13, 2021 Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo

SEVILLE, Spain (Reuters) - Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel acknowledged his side's 1-0 defeat by Porto on Tuesday might not have been a spectacle for neutrals but he revelled in their willingness to scrap as they reached the Champions League semi-finals 2-1 on aggregate.

Chelsea had the advantage from the first leg and spent most of the 90 minutes cancelling out the Portuguese, who finally managed to score two minutes into added time with a tremendous overhead kick from Mehdi Taremi.

"We accepted what was needed was a tough, tough fight. Maybe on the television it was not so nice to watch but on the sidelines it was a very intense game, a very fast game," Tuchel told BT Sport.

"It was a pleasure to watch the fight and be on the sideline with them to see them through."

Porto had knocked out Juventus in the last 16 and held Manchester City to a 0-0 draw in the group stage and Tuchel was wary of letting Sergio Conceicao's side play to their strengths.

He also surprisingly described Taremi's unstoppable overhead kick as fortuitous.

"Part of the performance is to not let the other team perform and we did this today. Until the lucky shot in the last minute we did not concede any chances," added Tuchel, who led Paris St-Germain to last year's final.

"We had to play defensively but also offensively. Normally Porto is a team who can make other teams underperform. It happened to Man City and Juventus. You have to accept that things will be hard.

"We defended well and deserved a clean sheet. We had the better chances. We could not finish it off with a goal so we had to hang in there and the guys did that."

Porto midfielder Sergio Oliveira described his side's exit from the competition as "frustrating and sad", lamenting the fact they scored so late in the tie.

"With the advantage of two goals, I think Chelsea came to manage us. They wanted to calm down the tempo and our intensity. If we were two goals ahead, I think we would have done the same," he said.

"Unfortunately we scored close to the end. Our aim was to score the first goal as quickly as possible, unfortunately we were unable to do that."

In the semi-finals Chelsea will face either Liverpool or Real Madrid, who play on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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