Thomas Tuchel lamented BVB's finishing as he spoke to sky following the match in Lisbon. "If we'd taken the lead, then we'd have probably have gone on to secure a deserved victory," he said, before praising the team's performance. "We were so, so good. That was a brilliant performance."
Thomas Tuchel, what's your take on this match?
Our performance was brilliant. Unfortunately we lost focus for three minutes. Shortly after the break we had a few problems realising that Benfica were trying to press us in defence. We were caught napping on two occasions. We lost possession twice and very unluckily conceded a goal with their only opportunity of the second half. Only in football can you play as well as that, create as many chances to score, give the opponent absolutely nothing – and still leave the pitch on the losing side. That's how it goes. Fortunately there's a return leg.
What went wrong before their goal?
Before the corner we were taken by surprise that they were pressing us differently. Then there was a sloppy bit of control and Benfica attacked down the right. We defended it but gave away a corner. I was slightly annoyed there, because it was an unnecessary loss of possession. I had the feeling we weren't quite on it directly after half-time. We didn't quite have the sharpness in our passing to continue to dominate. Benfica had made a switch and were trying to press our back three. We were not prepared for that. If, on two occasions, someone had simply played a long ball forward, we would have been completely out of jail. But I'm not making any accusations. Shit happens. Again, I'd like to emphasise that we were so, so good. I'm not going to focus solely on that one little thing.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had several clear-cut chances. Why did you decide to bring him off?
Physically he's been lagging behind a bit since he came back from the Africa Cup of Nations. So the decision to field him is a big risk. Every time. He had already been earmarked to come off and having seen his body language after the penalty, I didn't think he would score.
How will he cope with it?
I think that Auba expects himself to put chances like that away. The whole team is currently having problems converting their chances, as is he. But I can't imagine that he will have a problem with being substituted.
You had 14 shots, they had five. You've already said that at least games like that have a second leg, but how convinced are you that you can still make it through?
It's a complicated result ahead of the second leg. But I've very proud of the performance we produced. We were so dominant and counter-pressed so well. We didn't give away any chances to Benfica on the counter or allow them to have any shooting opportunities. For that reason, although I am very disappointed, I am very proud of how we played here tonight. Now what we need to do is perform like that in the second leg. We need to be much more clinical in front of goal. Otherwise we won't manage it.
Do the big players need to provide more on such occasions?
Of course, that's what is expected. You can say that without making any accusations. Obviously these players need to score and obviously we have had many situations over the course of recent matches in which players of their quality could score. That unsettles the players, and the team too. Against Leipzig or Hertha, for example, it was completely the same. If you don't manage to get that decisive second or third goal, then there is always that feeling creeping in that you are never quite safe. If we had taken the lead against Benfica, then we would have probably gone on to secure a deserved victory here tonight. But what can we do? We can't do anything more than create really good chances like this. We need to be more clinical if we want to make things easier for ourselves. (djg)