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By Ian Doyle

Thomas Tuchel admits he was convinced Chelsea would beat Liverpool in their FA Cup final – right up until the moment Kostas Tsimikas netted the winning penalty.

Tsimikas sent Edouard Mendy the wrong way to earn the Reds a 6-5 triumph on spot kicks after an absorbing goalless draw at Wembley on Saturday.

And having been denied in similar fashion by Liverpool in the League Cup in February, Tuchel believes the disruption caused by sanctions imposed on departing owner Roman Abramovich meant his team deserved better.

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“I think like in the last final of the Carabao Cup, no regrets,” said the Chelsea boss. “I told the team I am proud – I was proud before and happy before the match to arrive with this group and we made sure we were competitive and made life very difficult for Liverpool.

“We struggled in the first 15 minutes and then we were excellent for the whole match if not 240 minutes of final time, and played 0-0 against maybe the most dangerous attacking team in the world. Created also a lot of chances. They (Liverpool) deserved it as we deserved it as well, and again we lose on penalties. We are disappointed of course and sad but at the same time proud.

“I was sure we’d win today, I was sure during the match momentum was with our team and I was sure until the very last minute and unfortunately I was not right. We thought we deserved it and were ready to take it and unfortunately we couldn’t.

“I was pretty impressed from the sideline by both teams, it was the way how to play and commitment to play in a final. I thought we deserved it a bit more given how we arrived here.”

Chelsea – who have become the first team to lose three successive FA Cup finals after defeats to Arsenal in 2020 and Leicester last year – have now drawn four times with Liverpool this season after a brace of Premier League stalemates.

And Tuchel added: “We showed four times this season that we can produce peak performances to compete with them. All the results were deserved and could have gone in our way as well as their way. The difference is they can do it again on Wednesday and then Saturday and we struggle. That’s where the gap (to Liverpool) comes from. They have built their team over many years and the sanctions haven’t made it any easier to close it (the gap).”

Timo Werner remained an unused substitute throughout the game having injured his hamstring shortly before kick-off. And Tuchel explained: “Timo said during the warm-up he felt uncomfortable and cannot play. That was during the warm-up.”

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Dive Deeper:
Thomas Tuchel explains why he didn't sub on Timo Werner in FA Cup final loss to Liverpool
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Jürgen Klopp said it was ‘pure joy’ to be part of Liverpool’s pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple
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One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
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