Thomas Tuchel spurred his Chelsea stars to Club World Cup glory by invoking a sense of global envy at the Blues’ mission to lift every possible title.
The Chelsea boss’ whirlwind Abu Dhabi trip paid off as the Blues edged out Palmeiras 2-1 after extra-time, thanks to Kai Havertz’s late penalty.
Tuchel only just reached the United Arab Emirates in time on Friday night after testing negative to emerge from Covid-19 isolation and quickly dispensed with the catch-ups to deliver a well-pitched pre-match address.
The German manager simply reminded his players they were living the ultimate football dream by chasing world-champion status – and that clear message appeared to lift a level of tension from his side.
Owner Roman Abramovich has now steered Chelsea to 21 titles in his 19-year Stamford Bridge stewardship, with the Club World Cup completing a clean sweep of every possible trophy.
The Champions League holders are now world champions too, becoming just the fifth team to win every major club title.
“We were actually very calm before the game, we tried to calm the team down and to tell them what a fantastic opportunity it is to play football and that every footballer in the world is jealous of us to have the chance to play this final, said Tuchel.
“And maybe so many young boys out there dream to be one day in this final and watch this game.
“And we reminded ourselves that all of us have been this boy at one point and it’s also a moment to enjoy, to enjoy the hard work and sacrifice we will put into this game.”
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta is now the only Blues player to have completed that personal clean sweep of top trophies.
Edouard Mendy has become European champion, African champion and world champion all at the same time.
And N’Golo Kante can call himself a World Cup winner for both club and country.
Germany forward Havertz has now netted the winner in both the Champions League and Club World Cup, leaving boss Tuchel suitably impressed with his big-game player.
“Maybe we could wish every game is a final for him!” joked Tuchel, of Havertz.
“I’m very happy with him and he was decisive again.
“It was not easy to shoot this penalty. I’m happy that he stepped up, that he took it and for the way he took it.
“This can only be good for his development.”
Chelsea expected to take control when Romelu Lukaku buried Callum Hudson-Odoi’s fine left-footed cross with a powerful header, only for the otherwise-excellent Thiago Silva to concede a handball penalty.
Raphael Veiga slotted home for Palmeiras to send their 16,000 fans crazy, with the clash then drifting into extra-time.
Havertz fired a penalty of his own in the dying embers of the added 30 minutes however, as Luan was punished for a handball of his own.
Chelsea twice changed tactics from their starting 3-4-3 to accommodate changes in personnel and to stifle a well-organized Palmeiras.
“In a final you can be a bit stiff but you don’t want to open up too many spaces for counter-attacks on which they heavily rely and are very, very good at,” said Tuchel.
“So this was more or less the first-half, we were a bit stuck and we struggled for fluidity.
“So we changed the structure a little bit in the second-half, we found the spaces better, scored a wonderful goal and had some two, three good chances, half-chances after that.
“And for me in the moment when we were in total control and were the better team, finding spaces better and better, in this moment we gave a penalty away from a throw-in which is very unusual.
“And so the whole story starts from scratch, which mentally and physically was not easy.
“But I have to say, I think we never stopped attacking, we never stopped trying, throughout the 90 minutes.
“And before overtime we changed the structure again, with a different structure to attack and defend counter-attacks.
“And the team did very, very well in extra-time to control the match completely.
“The guys from the bench had a huge impact, and of course, if you have a late penalty you are also lucky.
“But I think we deserved it because we didn’t allow a lot of chances, we never stopped trying and doing the most for the game.”