Congratulations Thomas on another trophy. But was playing extra time really the best thing for you this evening?
“Physically this was the worst thing that could happen to us, playing extra time. Mentally, it was the best thing to happen. First, because there was no delay or playing it in four weeks. It was the moment we needed to start and that is why we choose the line-up.
“We didn’t want to break our heads and share minutes. We had all these discussions and thoughts. Do we share minutes? Do we continue the preparation phase? Do we use this match to be ready for Saturday? We decided no, we use this match to win it and nothing else.
“We went with the team that played against Arsenal and Tottenham to be. in the best shape possible. Are we 100% of our capacity? No, absolutely not. But we are ready to play football matches at a certain level. We had to suffer because you could see that after 35 minutes that things got hard for us.
“We had some easy ball losses, it was hard with closed spaces and unfortunately in the second half, we continued like this after a strong 35 minutes in the beginning. They deserved [their equaliser] because of this, finished our attacks too early and we allowed chances.
“I was very impressed with our reaction after 75 minutes because we had total control of the game again. We played a very good match until the 120th minute.
“So there were a lot of good things. Physically, we overused players who were not ready to play 120 minutes. We only have two days now until the next match against Crystal Palace so that does not help us.
“But this is the schedule. We came with many players who didn’t even play a friendly match so far. This the situation and it helps nobody if we say we’re not ready. We have to adapt, to be as ready as we can be in our mindset, and give our best on Saturday.”
Can you explain your decision to put Kepa on at that stage of the game, obviously it was planned?
“Of course, I mentioned since I arrived that we have an unbelievable amount of quality in our support structure at the club. This is one of our examples.
“When we arrived in my first cup game against Barnsley, we had this talk with the goalkeeping coaches and the analysis department who came up with these statistics that Willy Caballero is the best in penalty saving from thousands of them, second best was Kepa and third best in Edou in this statistic.
“We spoke to the goalkeepers openly that it can be like this in a situation like today that we take this change, not for personal reasons, but to help the team’s chances because we have this statistic.
“Willy is not here anymore in the three. It showed all the fantastic spirit that they accept it and have no problem. When you see Mendy put his ego aside when we take this decision, and he is aware, this is key, why we do it. This is not a feeling and just a sudden idea of the manager.
“This was planned and openly discussed with the goalkeepers and I am very happy that they showed this team spirit that Edou was fine to take this for the team. You still need luck but everyone knows how it is. Thanks to the support and luck, Kepa could show and prove his quality.”
Trevoh Chalobah forced his way into your thinking for this season?
“Absolutely that’s why he played. He played good against Arsenal and he played a good game also against Bournemouth, then Arsenal, then Tottenham. We wanted to have guys on the fireld who are capable to play 90 minutes.
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“Trevoh was first in training the very first in training and is physically strong and deserved to play by his performances so far and again today he was very strong.
“He suffered in some moments but later with Azpi by his side and Jorgi close to him and helping him in tactical organisation he stepped again up.
“He never lost face and stayed calm and was physical enough to play 120 minutes. It was quite impressive. He forced his way into our thinking. Let’s see how it goes.
“We still have some days to decide his personal future but in the moment he shows his value to the team.”