Thomas Tuchel praised the character of his Chelsea players after their 3-1 win over Norwich City despite “another level of distraction” following the announcement that owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government.
Abramovich is one of several Russian oligarchs to be sanctioned as part of a financial crackdown following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The measures effectively mean that the sale of Chelsea is on hold, while new tickets cannot be sold for home matches and the club shop at Stamford Bridge will be closed.
But the Blues were able to put the off-field issues to one side as Trevoh Chalobah and Mason Mount struck early in the first half before Kai Havertz sealed the win with a late strike.
Tuchel admitted the news was a distraction but commended his team for their attitude.
“Of course there was a lot of distraction, another level of distraction with the sanctions,” he said.
“We could feel it and the players talk about it and are aware of it.
“Full credit to the team. They showed very, very good character and we can be proud that they produced performances like this in the circumstances.
“The situation will not go away. Maybe tomorrow it will change again but it will not go away.
“It tells us we are right to trust them, that the attitude is right, and the culture of the club is right. So we keep on going.
“We played a fantastic half. We were 2-0 up but I think we played a little bit in the second half as if we were 3-0 or 4-0 up, as if it was already decided and it’s never decided in the Premier League.”
Christian Pulisic was absent from the matchday squad due to illness, while Cesar Azpilicueta was replaced at half-time by Ruben Loftus-Cheek after also feeling unwell.
“He did not feel well, Christian, in the morning when we wanted to leave. With the last examination, he had two bad nights, felt ill, felt sick, had a bit of change of temperature,” Tuchel added.
“That is why he did not feel good this morning so we decided to leave him at home and hopefully get rest and sleep and get back soon. So that was a last-minute change in the squad.
“At half-time Azpi had the same. Azpi did not feel well. A bit of a stomach problem and pain so we decided to take him out. He did not feel good.”