Chelsea lacked courage against Barnsley, says Tuchel
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said his side failed to show “enough courage” in their narrow FA Cup win over Championship side Barnsley.
Tammy Abraham scored the winner with his side’s only attempt on target to book a quarter-final home tie with Sheffield United.
Abraham was forced to make a headed goal-line clearance towards the end to deny Barnsley substitute Michael Sollbauer an equaliser.
“We scored the goal and I had the feeling that they increased the risk, but we stepped down in the little decisions,” added Tuchel, who made 10 changes to his side.
“Not enough courage and it was too deep for a long, long time. We clearly can play better, so yes I expected more but not in terms that I am frustrated.
“We can do better but I don’t want to be too hard on the players.”
Hard-working Barnsley were the better team in the first half with Kepa Arrizabalaga blocking Callum Brittain’s attempt at point-blank range.
The hosts claimed Abraham was offside for his goal but the England forward just held his run to ensure he was onside to finish from close range.
Chelsea are now unbeaten in five games since Tuchel took charge in January and will entertain Sheffield United in the sixth round on the weekend of 20-21 March.
Chelsea were languishing ninth in the Premier League when Tuchel took charge but are now one point off the top four and two wins from a fourth FA Cup final in five seasons.
This was a chance for Tuchel to take a first close look at his fringe players but they largely struggled to impress – and failed to register an attempt on target during a disjointed first half.
Kepa, demoted by previous boss Frank Lampard in favour of Edouard Mendy, kept his side on level terms with a fine save to keep out Brittain, who should have scored after Alex Mowatt’s cross was flicked into his path.
In addition to Kepa, Emerson Palmieri, Kurt Zouma and 19-year-old midfielder Billy Gilmour were also appearing for the first time under Tuchel, while Christian Pulisic and N’Golo Kante made first starts since the German came in.