Football

Tuchel hails Chilwell, Mendy after Chelsea's tight win

Neville says resilient Chelsea can win EPL title after 1-0 triumph over Brentford

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel heaped praise on goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and wing-back Ben Chilwell after a tight 1-0 win in a West London Derby against promoted Brentford yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The result kept the Blues top of the English Premier League on 19 points, one clear of Liverpool, who hammered Watford 5-0, and two ahead of champions Manchester City, who beat Burnley 2-0.

A Chilwell strike was the difference at the Brentford Community Stadium, but Chelsea were indebted to Mendy, who pulled off a string of saves to deny the Bees an equaliser.

Mendy thwarted Saman Ghoddos in the 83rd minute as he rushed off his line to close down the angle, and the 29-year-old turned over an acrobatic overhead effort by Christian Norgaard in injury time.

"Ed was absolutely decisive to escape with a clean sheet," Tuchel told reporters.

"He was very strong and very concentrated in the build-up play. Very good performance and of course, the last 20 minutes, the match turned into a cup game.

"They took a lot of risks and put a lot of bodies into our box. We could not keep them away from shooting and having the big chances."

Bees boss Thomas Frank agreed, saying: "There should only be one winner in that game and that is us.

"Mendy was absolutely world class and I think he's been crazy good for Chelsea. I just said to him it was a little bit annoying he was so good today."

Chilwell also praised Mendy, who joined Chelsea from Rennes in September 2020.

"I don't know how many saves he made, but there were a lot of very important saves and he does it every week for us," Chilwell told the Chelsea website.

"He bails us out, whether it's once or twice, or in this game on several occasions. He's a world-class goalkeeper and is the one we've got to thank."

Tuchel also hailed left wing-back Chilwell for bouncing back from being sidelined at the start of the season to score the 45th-minute winner, his second strike in two games.

HALF-VOLLEY

He found the net via a half-volley after the ball dropped kindly for him 12 metres out when the Bees failed to clear their lines.

Chilwell, who also scored for England in a World Cup qualifier earlier this month, was left out of Tuchel's team in August and September after being overlooked by England during Euro 2020.

"I felt him a little bit tired, I felt him mentally drained and it needs its time," said Tuchel.

"Today he was strong again, he is in good shape.

"We need him in shape, we need everybody. We have many, many games, many competitions to play and I'm happy with, of course, his goal because it gives him a lot of confidence."

Eight-time EPL champion Gary Neville, meanwhile, said the Blues are showing the hallmark of champions.

He told Sky Sports: "I think Chelsea can win the title. I know people will say Manchester City or Liverpool and you can't disagree with that, given what they've done over the last three or four years.

"City's performance at Chelsea a few weeks ago was incredible, but I do feel this Chelsea team are resilient and are tough to play against...

"That was a Chelsea team that had a few players missing as well, and they've got so many to come back.

"They had so many good players coming off the bench too, so I feel they've got a great shout of winning the title." - REUTERS

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