Michels reveals extent of Tuchel input, praises Kepa’s penalty heroics and updates on injured trio

After catching his breath, Michel reflected on the contest and how we made it difficult for ourselves.

‘We had 60 minutes where we could also lead 3-1 with many opportunities, crosses from the side and touches in the box,’ he said.

‘We were a little bit unlucky with the crossbar and the post, and then at the same time we scored more or less an own goal, which brought us some difficulties. 

‘We put ourselves in trouble with the penalty at the end but everybody would say in the FA Cup the most important thing is to go through and that’s what we did.’

Michels revealed how the coaching staff were in constant dialogue with Tuchel throughout…

‘There was ongoing communication through Benni Weber [assistant coach/analyst]. He knows about our game so stayed in touch with Thomas the whole game. Everything was clear what we wanted to do so he spoke to him the whole time, which was good.

‘I don’t know right now exactly what the situation is with Thomas and when he will be back. He has to follow the Government rules and is in self-isolation so we’re looking for the next few days.’

There were words of praise for penalty-saving Kepa…

‘It’s not about his penalty save but also about his performance, which was very good. Since the last matches, I found him very reliable in his game so we’re very happy with Kepa. He deserves our trust because he’s a fantastic guy who is doing constantly very good and reliable work in training.

‘He has these strengths to save penalties and has shown it a few times now, in the Carabao Cup twice and against Villarreal [in the Super Cup]. Even in training, it is hard to beat him. He has the ability to read the mind of the player and what he’s going to do so we’re pleased he could save us today.’

Michels had an update on a few players who came off with small injuries…

‘Mason felt it in extra-time when he had a shot. It was not a serious problem during the game and he realised quickly that he felt pain so we took him off and there will be further exams. Hopefully it’s not too bad but right now I cannot promise what the situation is.

‘Hakim had a bit of a problem and Azpi with his hamstring. I wouldn’t say they are injuries but we have a few muscular problems. Hopefully they are only little ones so they are back in training tomorrow or Monday.’

Finally, Michels hailed collective work from the dugout…

‘We saw it as a team effort with Zsolt Low, Anthony Barry and me as well, with Hilario and Benni included.

‘We all felt a little bit excited because we’re used to having Thomas on our side so it was definitely different but the team made it very easy for us and helped us in our work. We felt very good and supported.’