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Tuchel explains reason behind bizarre extra-time substitution in FA Cup final loss

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Thomas Tuchel with Ruben Loftus-Cheek. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Thomas Tuchel explained Ruben Loftus-Cheek substitution 15 minutes after bringing him on vs Liverpool in FA Cup final

According to football.london, Thomas Tuchel, in his post-match press conference, explained why he substituted Ruben Loftus-Cheek just 15 minutes after he brought him on in the extra time during their FA Cup final against Liverpool. Liverpool went on to win the Cup on penalties.

Liverpool beat Chelsea in a penalty shootout for the second time this season, adding the FA Cup trophy to the Carabao Cup they had previously won, keeping their quadruple aspirations alive.

The FA Cup final on Saturday ended goalless after 90 and 120 minutes, the same as the Carabao Cup final. Chelsea missed two of their seven penalties, with Kostas Tsimikas scoring the winning penalty for the Reds.

Chelsea lost to Liverpool in penalties after a goalless draw in normal and extra time.
Chelsea lost to Liverpool in penalties after a goalless draw in normal and extra time. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Blues academy product Mason Mount both missed their pens as Tuchel’s side went down to Liverpool in a penalty shootout for the second time this season. It could be luck, or it could even be down to us being mentally and psychologically bested once again.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek injured?

To the surprise of most of the Blues fans watching the match, Loftus-Cheek was subbed off just 15 minutes after coming on during the extra. At half-time of extra time, the Englishman came on to replace Christian Pulisic as Chelsea looked for a winner at Wembley.

However, neither Chelsea nor Liverpool were able to break the deadlock in the final on Saturday, so Tuchel changed Ross Barkley for Loftus-Cheek just minutes before the penalty shootout. When asked about this substitution the German explained that it was a change purely for the penalties and that RLC was not Injured.

“Because we took him off? That was purely for penalties. Ruben does not have a good history statistically and Ross has. So it was purely down to the penalties.”

Chelsea star Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaced Christian Pulisic at the halftime of the extra time.
Chelsea star Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaced Christian Pulisic at the halftime of the extra time.

Chelsea’s fourth penalty was taken by former Everton star Barkley, who tucked his shot past Alisson Becker, but the Blues lost the shootout 6-5. We can be relieved that Ruben isn’t injured but there aren’t any big games left for us this season either way.

The English midfielder was brought on to make an impact, but he did not play the entire 15 minutes of extra time. He was substituted for Pulisic, who then joined the attack. This was a surprising move because everyone would have expected Timo Werner to come on in that position.

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RLC is more of a central midfielder than an attacker and it was clear that he wasn’t making any sort of a contribution going forward. Tuchel’s sub paid off when it came to taking penalties but apart from that, RLC’s inclusions didn’t really make any positive impact for us.

With just pride left to play for this season, perhaps this is the chance for the ex-Crystal Palace and Fulham midfielder to prove to Tuchel that he can jostle for a starting spot from the next campaign onwards.

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