THOMAS TUCHEL was forced to make a profit to get Chelsea through another shaky night.
Boss Tuchel claims no way N’Golo Kante will play any role in this match seeing his small side play the full 90 minutes on Sunday when he returns from injury.
But with his team struggling to see off Brentford and looking vulnerable, the German was forced to turn to the inspirational midfielder with less than a quarter of an hour left and drag him off the bench.
Just four minutes later, a brilliant trick from the impossibly French player signaled for Chelsea to finally create the breakthrough, albeit through an own goal.
And five minutes later, Jorginho – another extra in the second half – had a comfortable margin of victory from the penalty spot.
But real Tuchel Having had to call up a player as old as Kante and still on his way to recover from a knee injury, underscoring that Chelsea are not yet on a solid footing.
Covid happened in the camp. Three other suitable players were eliminated last night while they were in isolation
Injuries also play an important role. But there is also the feeling that Chelsea are weathering a storm at the moment.
Even so, Tuchel delivered on one of his promises last night. That he would consider bringing in some of the next generation of Chelsea players to try to help his side through a difficult period.
Teens Xavier Simons, Jude Soonsup-Bell and Harvey Vale have all made their debuts and two of them lasted an hour before it was time for the big boys to take over.
Although the starting line-up seemed provisional, it was a familiar face that kept Chelsea steady in the first half.
Three times goalkeeper Kepa successfully saved stunners when defenders in front of him were beaten cold, this is becoming a brand of concern.
The first was in the 12th minute when striker Yoane Wissa aimed straight at his head as a more aggressive approach could have received more rewards.
Twenty minutes later, the Spaniard made every effort to save the danger from Pontus Jensen even though he could not keep the ball.
Five minutes before half-time, Rico Henry overtook rookie Simons as he dropped to the right of Brentford and hit from a tight angle that Kepa pushed off.
Chelsea looked calm when on the ball but trembled under pressure.
With such a disparaging squad Tuchel can point to the team’s inexperience for mistakes when in fact they can look back on their debut with some pride.
Especially center back Harvey Vale. Shameful and hard to beat, he is a huge asset and looks promising – so much so that he stayed when young teammate Jude Soonsup-Bell was substituted at half-time.
Tuchel’s experiment with the kids was to buy time and rest for more experienced legs.
But as he watched his team continue their fortunes, he was forced to return to his big guns in an effort to break through the hurdles and reach the semi-finals.
In just over an hour, he had already filmed Mason Mount and Reece James.
Both players are only 22 years old but are both England internationals and men in the eyes of a manager hungry to win on a difficult night.
Simons and Vale gave way and Chelsea took on a more traditional look.
James immediately sensed his presence. Smashed a free-kick from the left to the goal, which was met by an equally powerful punch from Fernandez.
Brentford boss Thomas Frank has responded with the introduction of Ivan Toney, back from the Covid-coerced layoffs, and midfielder Christian Norgaard.
And Kante, 30, was clearly the key to Chelsea’s belated victory.
Split and bounced high in the box, he dribbled the ball past two defenders and then finished the stretch for James.
His cross was unfortunately converted into an own goal by Pontus Jansson.
From there it was only a downward spiral for The Bees, who reached the semi-finals of this competition last season.
Five minutes later, goalkeeper Fernandez, who had had almost no difficulty until then, let go of his hand and sub to unsupervised Christian Pulisic, who dived.
Calmly Jorginho successfully shot the penalty that sent Chelsea into the last four and helped them survive the battle for five trophies this season – only.
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https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/17121620/chelsea-brentford-match-report-carabao-cup/ Jansson’s horrifying own goal and Jorginho’s penalty saw Tuchel’s men advance to the Carabao Cup semi-finals