Cesc Fabregas has heaped praise on Steven Gerrard for Aston Villa’s exciting style of football despite their defeat against Chelsea.
Thomas Tuchel’s men sealed a comeback win over Villa as Romelu Lukaku’s introduction in the second half proved pivotal.
Gerrard’s men made them work for the victory, however, as they came flying out the blocks in the first half with plenty of energy.
The hosts took the lead through a Reece James own goal, before two Jorginho penalties, on either side of Lukaku’s header clinched the 3-1 win over the Midlands club as Chelsea avoided losing more ground in the Premier League title race.
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Fabregas, who had countless battles with Gerrard in the middle of the park for Chelsea and Arsenal, had only positive things to say for the way Villa took the game to his former side.
He tweeted: “This Aston Villa side plays good football. Very well drilled. Credit to Steven Gerrard.”
Tuchel hailed “gamechanger” Lukaku as he climbed off the bench to inspire Chelsea to victory.
The Belgian striker gave the visitors a 2-1 lead with a clinical header, before his rampaging run led to a penalty in stoppage time which Jorginho converted to seal the three points.
Tuchel said: “We showed a very good reaction after their goal. The own goal made things super complicated. The reaction was very good. We defended strong and did not allow big chances. It was a deserved win but hard work.
“We decided at half-time to have a bit more threat and create more problems. I was happy he was involved. He was the game changer today. We took a lot of risks – 45 minutes was more than the medical department recommended. Who knows if it’s the right thing to do.”
Tuchel expressed his frustration over Chelsea’s long list of injuries.
Romelu Lukaku scored for Chelsea to make it 2-1 vs Aston Villa)
He added: “We have another injured player. We play against a team with no international duty. At some stage it’ll catch us.
“We are struggling, we are pressing our players. I have maximum respect for what the players did today. We do changes because of injuries. We don’t change for tactical reasons any more.
“We thought Hudson-Odoi can share minutes with Lukaku but Kante is injured, Silva is injured. We have three changes. It backfired on us. Hudson-Odoi was outstanding today, one of his very best performances. We were in doubt he can play one half but he played 90 minutes.”