Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said the late English Premier League 1-0 win over West Ham was “needed to release the pressure and tension” caused by his side’s recent poor home form.
The Blues had lost their previous three games at Stamford Bridge, conceding 11 goals in the process, and were indebted to Christian Pulisic’s 90th-minute winner three minutes after Jorginho’s woeful penalty was saved.
David Moyes rested six players before West Ham’s Europa League semi-final tie against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday and it looked like they might hold on for a precious point when Jorginho’s tame effort was saved by Lukasz Fabianski after 87 minutes.
But after Craig Dawson was sent off following a video assistant review (VAR) for fouling Romelu Lukaku in the build-up to the spot-kick, Pulisic became the saviour as he tucked in Marcos Alonso’s low cross.
After a lacklustre performance, the goal sparked relief for Tuchel and the home fans as they recovered from their midweek 4-2 defeat by Arsenal to move five points clear of the fourth-placed Gunners.
West Ham will be distraught they did not get anything from the game after a sterling display, with Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio all starting on the bench.
Dawson, who was otherwise excellent with a number of blocks, will also feel aggrieved as West Ham remain seventh, eight points behind Arsenal.