Tuchel backs Chilwell after dropping him for Chelsea win

Thomas Tuchel said Marcos Alonso was recalled to the Chelsea side largely because of his aerial presence at set-pieces.

Alonso, who was frozen out by Tuchel’s predecessor Frank Lampard and had not featured since September, was a surprise inclusion against Burnley, replacing the dropped Ben Chilwell.

The Spaniard responded with a fine display and the all-important second goal in a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge – Tuchel’s first win as Blues boss.

But Tuchel backed Chilwell and insisted the decision was simply made to help Chelsea’s deal with Burnley’s threat in the air.

Tuchel explained: “We had a reason and the reason was not that we were unhappy with Chilly. Absolutely not.

“We opted for a bit more size for defending the set pieces from Burnley. I know that Marcos is used to playing in this role on the left side.

“He has good timing for arriving in the box and we are very happy that he scored the second goal which finished the game.”

Chelsea were certainly solid against a Clarets side which barely threatened.

Cesar Azpilicueta opened the scoring and the hosts had several chances to double their lead before Alonso’s late strike.

Tuchel, who also recalled Mason Mount, said: “It was a very complete performance, defensively and offensively.

“We had to be very strong physically against unbelievably many long balls. It was always active defending. We never got passive.

“We only conceded one shot, which is absolutely amazing. We controlled the game.”