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Chelsea made hard work of Club World Cup win over Al-Hilal admits stand-in boss Low

23:37 GMT+3 09/02/2022
chelsea al hilal
The European champions needed a pair of big saves from Kepa Arrizabalaga to earn their place in the final

Chelsea assistant Zsolt Low admitted his side made hard work of their 1-0 win over Al-Hilal in Wednesday's Club World Cup semi-final.

Low was on the sideline in Abu Dhabi filling in for Thomas Tuchel, who stayed back in London after testing positive for Covid-19.

The European champions got a first-half goal from Romelu Lukaku and then had to hold on in the second half, with Kepa Arrizabalaga making a pair of big saves to preserve the lead.

What was said?

"We worked very hard," Low said in his post-game press conference. "We missed a bit of freedom and rhythm. We started a little nervous, it was not easy. We fought hard to find a solution.

"My opinion is the solution was there but we didn't find it easily. We missed a bit of rhythm in this game but we fought hard to get the result and reach the final.

"This competition is very important for the club. The players felt the pressure and that's why we failed to find the easy solution and score goals."

Lukaku ends drought

With his first-half strike from close range, Lukaku ended a run of five games without scoring and Low was relieved to see the Belgium star end his drought.

"Everyone's very happy he scored," Low said. "He fought very hard and tried hard in the last game. That's why we give him the chance all the time.

"We hoped for a bit of luck to score today. He's very happy, we're very happy and hope he continues and scores in the final."

Low hopeful over Tuchel travel

With Chelsea now set to face Brazilian side Palmeiras in Saturday's final, Low held out hope Tuchel would be able to fly to Abu Dhabi and coach the showpiece.

"We hope Thomas can travel as soon as possible," Low said. "As I said before he'll follow government rules. He's in self isolation now and doing a Covid PCR test every day.

"Once he tests negative it opens the possibility to travel. Every day we wait for it. We wish he can come to enjoy the final."

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