Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel expressed gratitude at having another cup final to look forward to after goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount defeated Crystal Palace in the FA Cup quarter-final at Wembley.
The Blues saw their Champions League title defense end in midweek after losing 5-4 to Real Madrid on aggregate and with Manchester City and Liverpool leading in the Premier League, left this competition as the only realistic opportunity for the club to add. more cutlery to the cabinet.
With Roman Abramovich also in the process of selling Chelsea and thus his trophy-laden era coming to an end, the victory in his 27th appearance at the new Wembley was all the more significant.
Substitute Loftus-Cheek broke the tie in the 65th minute before Mount wrapped up the victory.
He sets up another meeting with Liverpool, who beat them in the Carabao Cup final in February, on May 14, but Tuchel is not interested in thwarting the Reds’ quadruple offer.
“I don’t care about his other titles,” insisted the German. “We want to change things (against them), but it will not give us the Carabao Cup title back.
“We are here, we were here last season in the FA Cup final in a game that means a lot to us because it is the FA Cup, the most prestigious and traditional cup in the world, perhaps and played at Wembley, so there is no there are many bigger games to be a part of.
“For that we are grateful and we will be well prepared because we play against one of the strongest teams in the world.”
Chelsea are hoping to get lucky for the third time in the FA Cup after Tuchel’s side lost to Leicester last May at Wembley, while his predecessor Frank Lampard suffered defeat to Arsenal in the 2020 final.
The Blues boss admitted he will need some luck to beat Champions League semi-finalists Liverpool, who booked their place in next month’s showpiece with a 3-2 victory over Manchester City on Saturday.
Tuchel added: “It will be another tough fight, given the quality and form of Liverpool. It will be incredibly difficult to beat them, but that’s what a cup final is all about.
“It’s about winning and we have to try to find a way to beat them. We need a bit of luck and everything at the highest level.
“Of course, it makes the season a lot sweeter if at the end of the season you have a final that you can win, but as we all know, in a final, you have to compete against each other.
“We experienced last season and already this season that sometimes you give it your all and it may not be enough, but we will try to find a way.”
Loftus-Cheek broke the hearts of his former club on loan, Crystal Palace, by firing into the half volley after Eagles defender Tyrick Mitchell was dispossessed near his own penalty area by Cesar Azpilicueta.
It was Loftus-Cheek’s first goal in nearly three years, a period in which he suffered a serious Achilles tendon injury and spent time with Fulham before forcing his way into Tuchel’s plans.
“Hopefully it will be a great moment for Rubén,” said Tuchel.
“It was nice because normally he is a very calm, calm guy and seeing him like that jumping and celebrating a goal was good.
“He is the opposite of overconfident, we need to instill this confidence in his body and in his game. These are the next steps for him.”
The first year of the new era 👏— Crystal Palace FC (@CPFC) April 17, 2022
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was left pondering what might have been, with Cheikhou Kouyate denied by compatriot Edouard Mendy in the first half when the tie was goalless.
“I don’t think it was bad luck. We tried to play our best, but Chelsea were too good that day for us,” admitted the five-time FA Cup winner.
“Big games like this, against these teams, when you’re in a good moment you need to take your chances and we didn’t score.
“But I am proud of the team with their approach to this game. In the first half we were brilliant but we couldn’t score”.