Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel praised Olivier Giroud’s longevity after the striker scored a handsome winner against Atletico Madrid in their 16th Champions League first leg on Tuesday.
The France international produced a wonderful kick in the 68th minute to ensure a 1-0 victory at the Arena Nationala in Bucharest, with coronavirus-related travel restrictions preventing the draw at Wanda Metropolitano.
While Giroud, 34, had to wait for a long VAR check, the goal was finally given and it was his sixth in the competition this season after a crucial late effort at Rennes and a four-goal run at Sevilla in the groups. .
Tuchel said, “If you see him on a daily basis you cannot be surprised. He is totally fit, his body is fit and his physicality is at the highest level.
“Mentally I really have the feeling that he enjoys being a professional football player at this level every day and that is the level he has to be.
“He trains like a 20-year-old, like a 24-year-old. He’s a guy who has a good mix of seriousness and joy in training. He’s always positive and that’s a big factor. for the group.
“He starts off, when he comes off the bench he has all these qualities and it’s good like that.”
Chelsea recovered from a nervous opening of a few minutes in Romania to dominate the majority of the game and prevent La Liga leaders Atletico from having a single shot on target.
The Blues boss added: “I’m super happy for my players and the team for such a big award. We can actually read from the score that we have the result against the best opponents.
“It was very important that we absolutely focused on the 96 minutes and also accept that it is very difficult to create chances, but we did all of that and it was a very good team effort.”
Simeone: difficult attack vs quality
Atletico were without several players, including suspended Kieran Trippier, and struggled in an unfamiliar environment to suffer a second straight loss following Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Levante.
It’s now a victory in five games for Diego Simeone’s side and he said: “I understood that you had to play like that.
“I think the main problem was that we didn’t have a lot of precision on the catch.
“It was a difficult game, nobody had a lot of chances to score but also it was very difficult with their attack because they have really strong and quality players.”