Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea starlet Lewis Hall ‘took his chance’ in the 5-1 home victory over Chesterfield.
The Blues reached the fourth round of the FA Cup with a relatively straightforward win against James Rowe’s National League side. Timo Werner put Chelsea in front early on and was joined by Callum Hudson-Odoi, Romelu Lukaku and Andreas Christensen on the scoresheet in the first half.
Hakim Ziyech made it 5-0 from the penalty spot after the break, although debutant Marcus Bettinelli could not get a clean sheet.
Chesterfield substitute Akwasi Asante netted from close range after Bettinelli had saved a shot from Kabongo Tshimanga.
This was 17-year-old Hall’s first Chelsea start, but he did not look out of place. The central midfielder, operating in defence, had a hand in two goals.
He put in some good work down the left flank before assisting Lukaku for Chelsea’s third goal. The academy graduate also had a shot in the 39th minute, which was kept out before Christensen headed home the rebound.
During a post-match interview with BBC Sport, Tuchel was asked about the youngster. “Did he say much in his interview? I haven’t heard him speak so much in training!” the German said.
“But he deserved to play, he is a nice guy and very calm. A huge opportunity at Stamford Bridge. He took his chance and was hugely involved in some of the goals. Happy for him.
“Big schedule. A lot of things to take care of. We had a day off tomorrow, which is rare enough, and from Monday we will focus on the Carabao Cup.”
On the wider team performance, Tuchel added: “I think most of the minutes until the 5-0 was absolutely OK and then we dropped a bit in all aspects of the game and it was a bit too open but job done. Everything good.
“We trust our players and we had to manage the load, to not overload the players with the next four games and the upcoming two weeks. We started well and decided the game early.”
‘I was shaking’ – Hall reveals Chelsea shock
Hall, meanwhile, spoke about his surprise at being selected. “Ever since I was a kid being at Chelsea this is what I worked towards. To finally get the opportunity and in front of my family and the amazing fans it is an incredible feeling,” he said.
“I came through the development system at six to eight and got my first contract at nine and have been progressing to this moment.
“We had a meeting during the day when he [Tuchel] announced the team and I was really nervous straight away. I saw my name on the team sheet and I was shaking. It took a few hours to process it.”
Hall’s brother Connor netted several goals for Chorley last season in the FA Cup. “He scored in three consecutive rounds, so good [for me] to get one today,” Hall added.