'We needed him to step up' – Tuchel praises Chelsea match-winner Sterling

·2-min read

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel hailed Raheem Sterling for his match-winning display against Leicester City that made sure the Blues bounced back after defeat to Leeds United last time out.

Tuchel, in the stands due to a touchline ban, saw his side endure a difficult first half at Stamford Bridge, in which Conor Gallagher was sent off after 28 minutes for two bookable offences.

But Chelsea responded following half-time, and Sterling's first goal for the club came shortly after the restart with the aid of a deflection off Daniel Amartey.

Sterling soon turned in Reece James' low cross for his second, and goal proved decisive as Tuchel's men clung on despite a Harvey Barnes riposte.

"It was necessary because we need him to score," Tuchel said after Chelsea's 2-1 win. "It's what he does, and he will score.

"I could feel he was not happy because he wants to score more and have more chances.

"We played today in a more aggressive shape, but then we were one man down, so we needed him to step up, which he did. The goals were crucial today because they gave us the belief."

Tuchel was critical of Gallagher, sent off in only his fourth Premier League outing for Chelsea, but pointed out others were also to blame for the challenge on Barnes that saw him dismissed.

"Today he is responsible for what he did, and he knows it was a huge mistake," Tuchel said. "We spoke briefly after the game, and things like this happen.

"It's not purely his fault alone because it was a set-piece for us and it's sloppy how we take set-pieces at the moment.

"We lack belief and precision, so it’s not good enough. We give chances away, we are sloppy in the coverage and bad in decision-making, so we have to stop and improve immediately.

"We are on it with the team, so I don't know why it happened again. It's a very bad decision for Conor, so of course he's upset, because it almost kills a whole football match."