Arno Michels was relieved Chelsea didn’t join Arsenal and Manchester United on the FA Cup shock list as Chelsea survived a scare to squeeze past Plymouth Argyle and book their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup thanks to a 2-1 extra time win at Stamford Bridge.
The visitors took the lead in the eighth minute thanks to a Macaulay Gilllesphey header before César Azpilicueta equalised just before the break following a relentless period of attacking pressure.
The tie was ultimately decided in extra time, with Marcos Alonso scoring the winner against a plucky Argyle side who also saw a late penalty saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Standing in for Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, who tested positive for Covid just before the game, assistant boss Michels was coy when reflecting on his side’s performance.
He said: “We created a lot of opportunities and chances, at the end I think we had 40 shots.
“We lacked a bit of precision from crosses on the side and passes in the box.
“We didn’t do ourselves any favours at 1-0 down and then there’s a penalty.
“Everybody believes it’s easy to play this game, but it isn’t in the FA Cup and we saw this yesterday also.
“They were well organised, they guarded their box but at the end, we are through.”
In direct contrast, Plymouth boss Steven Schumacher reflected on his side’s display with immense pride.
He said: “I couldn’t be any prouder really. To take it to extra time shows how well all the players have done.
“The lads, every one of them; the ones who started, the players who came on, everyone - they can be proud of themselves.”