sport

Chelsea Maintain Tuchel Momentum With Win At Sheff Utd

Chelsea’s revival under Thomas Tuchel continued as the Blues closed to within a point of the top four with a hard-fought 2-1 win at bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United.

Mason Mount’s well-worked opener just before half-time was cancelled out by a bizarre own goal from Antonio Rudiger as Chelsea conceded for the first time in four games under Tuchel.

But Jorginho’s penalty quickly restored the visitors’ lead and they held out for a third win in four games since the German replaced the sacked Frank Lampard.

Chelsea are now breathing down Liverpool’s necks for a place in next season’s Champions League after the defending champions were thrashed 4-1 at home by Manchester City.

Tuchel has benefited from a kind run of fixtures to bed himself into English football, but the former Paris Saint-Germain manager has quickly implemented his ideas, even if it has come at the cost of a number of big names.

N’Golo Kante and Hakim Ziyech were again left on the bench, while there was no place in the squad for Kai Havertz or Christian Pulisic.

Any suggestion Mount, who shot to prominence under Lampard, would be a casualty of the change of management have proven unfounded as the England international was again Chelsea’s most dangerous player.

Mount rounded off a brilliant team move, also involving Ben Chilwell and Timo Werner to give Chelsea the half-time lead their dominance deserved at Bramall Lane.

Tuchel’s men had barely even faced a shot at goal in their previous three games against Wolves, Burnley and Tottenham, but finally conceded thanks to a self-inflicted blow.

Rudiger is one of those to have benefited from Lampard’s departure after being frozen out by the former England international for much of the season.

But the German defender did his new boss little favours as his attempted back pass beat the onrushing Edouard Mendy and rolled into his own net.

Luckily for Rudiger, the Blades offered up a gift of their own within four minutes when Werner pounced on Jayden Bogle’s short back pass and the German international was brought down by Aaron Ramsdale as he tried to round the goalkeeper.

Referee Kevin Friend incredibly did not give the spot-kick initially, but overturned his decision on a VAR review.

Jorginho did not use his trademark stutter-step in scoring the winner at Spurs from the spot in midweek, but used it to good effect to send Ramsdale the wrong way.

The young goalkeeper then looked like he may become the first concussion substitution in the Premier League for the blow he took to the head in upending Werner, but was allowed to complete the match after a medical assessment.

At the other end, Mendy had to make a big save deep into stoppage time to turn Billy Sharp’s acrobatic effort to safety and maintain Tuchel’s early momentum.

afp

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