Thomas Tuchel claims Chelsea should have 21 players on the Ballon d’Or shortlist and believes Edouard Mendy’s match-winning performance against Brentford proved he was unaffected by being snubbed in the running for the award.
Mendy was outstanding as the European champions moved back to the top of the Premier League with a hard-fought 1-0 win in west London.
He pulled off a string of world-class saves as Brentford went in search of an equaliser, with Tuchel admitting his goalkeeper was the difference on the day.
“I’m happy and it is more important that he performs like this than he is on any list,” said the Chelsea manager. “It should not, and I hope it does not, bother him because it does not bother me too much and it seems like he is not influenced by that, which is a good thing.
“Today we relied heavily on him again. He is the guy he is and everybody is so happy for him that he can help us.”
Rather than bemoaning the fact Mendy was left off the 30-man shortlist to be named Ballon d’Or winner, Tuchel insisted more Chelsea players should have been recognised for their achievements in winning the Champions League last season.
Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku have all been nominated, but Tuchel, who has repeatedly dismissed the importance of individual honours, said: “I think that we could be on that list as a whole team because we won that trophy as a team. If we have five names or six names, I have the feeling we won it as 21 guys and everybody played his role.
“That’s how football works.”
Tuchel praised Chelsea’s resolve as they withstood a second-half onslaught from Brentford.
He added: “They were always dangerous in their set-pieces. A constant threat, very strong and very concentrated in the build-up play.
“The last 20 minutes the game turned into a cup game, they put a lot of bodies into our box, we could not keep them away from shooting and having big chances.
“Edou [Mendy] was absolutely decisive to escape with a clean sheet.”