LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea's Thomas Tuchel became the first coach to secure clean sheets in each of his first five home games in the Premier League when the Blues beat Everton 2-0 on Monday, something the German put down to his players' "trust and courage".
The Londoners have only conceded two goals in an 11-game unbeaten run in all competitions that began when Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge in January, and one of them was an own goal.
"It's about principles, it's about being reliable, it's about trust that your back is covered if you step out and attack up front," Tuchel said.
"It's a high quality of defending right now in the group and of course they're super hungry to fight to not give chances away because it's a good feeling and it makes us self confident."
As well as snuffing out Everton on Monday, Chelsea have also recently stopped Liverpool and Manchester United from scoring in the league and Atletico Madrid failed to get past the Blues' back line in the Champions League.
That defensive consistency belies how Tuchel has chopped and changed who plays in front of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, alternating Marcos Alonso and Ben Chilwell at left back and on Monday replacing Antonio Rudiger with Kurt Zouma in the back three.
"It's not about having clean sheets and parking the bus in front of a goal," the German said. "It's about a certain style of defending and we try to defend up as high as possible to have high ball recoveries...It's about trust, it's about courage."
(Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by Pritha Sarkar)