After beating Club America, Thomas Tuchel was asked about several individuals who took part in the win that began our pre-season matches this weekend, but he began by summing up a contest in the United States that he said provided a significant step-up from the training so far.
An unfortunate own-goal by Reece James cancelled out a Timo Werner opener early in the second half after a different 11 began the second period compared with the first half.
However Mason Mount struck superbly later on for a confidence-building win against a Mexican side who are mid-season.
‘It was a very difficult match against very difficult opponents in an environment like playing in a full stadium,’ analysed Tuchel.
‘The first half was tough for us to create clear chances, we couldn’t score but kept a clean sheet and the second half we found better solutions, and looked more dangerous. So a very good second half, a good first half. We deserved to win and I’m happy that we took that.’
The opening half was the longest Ben Chilwell has played since injuring his knee badly last November…
‘I’m super happy that he’s back,’ smiled his head coach. ‘It’s a difference from training to playing a game and he will take time, but he will get there because he deserves it and we will support him on his way back.
‘I’m happy that nobody’s injured after a very physical game and a very physical two weeks.’
Goalscorer Timo Werner and Conor Gallagher, back from loan, are another two upon whom the post-match spotlight shone…
‘Timo played 45 minutes like everybody else and Timo scored,’ said Tuchel. ‘That’s what counts and from there we go. There is always stuff to improve, but it’s the first match.
‘Kai had a big chance, Michy had a big chance, Timo took the chance and Mason did also.
‘I count on the fact that as they become more experienced, they maybe become more calm and adapt more and more. They’re still young players and what we want from them is that they stay confident, stay focused, and do what they need to do as strikers.
‘With Conor, it is the same as a midfielder. He trains on a very high level and we can clearly see that it was the right decision to let him go on loan. He made a huge step in his development in this year and became a player for England, and we can see this clearly in training. It is a very good start from him and it was a good match from him.
‘Now it is important that he gets used to our principles of the game, to understand when to move when not to move, but his work-rate is outstanding and this can be a big asset for us.’
Ethan Ampadu, another returning from loan, also earned Tuchel praise…
‘I was a bit sad today because some youngsters had to be outside due to injury or simply the fact we had too many players for two teams. Some other players deserved to play, like for example Harvey Vale who had a fantastic tournament for England Under-19s and did very well in training.
‘Ethan did very well in a good position for him in the middle of a back three.
‘He plays a lot of vertical passes, he did not play from left to right but only penetrated through the lines of the opponent with his passes and sometimes with his dribbling. He was very active and it was good match from him. He also is training very well.’