Thomas Tuchel claimed that Chelsea are “slight underdogs” going into the Champions League final against Manchester City.
Chelsea will face off with their fellow Premier League side for European club football’s ultimate prize on Saturday. Tuchel lost the final with Paris Saint-Germain last season, so will be hoping to go one better with his current club. They will have to overcome a City side who have dominated the league this season to do so, though.
It promises to be an enthralling affair, which could go either way. Tuchel won’t have to motivate his players too much as they seek a first piece of silverware together.
“I have full trust in everybody,” he told his pre-match press conference. “How bad do you want it? I felt us very concentrated, focused in the build up with this week.
“There is confidence which is nice to have and a nice feeling to arrive with in a final. We had two training sessions in London. Today is the last training to find the last details.”
In a further boost to their confidence, Tuchel was able to confirm that there are no injury issues for Chelsea. That will come as a relief, especially after goalkeeper Edoaurd Mendy looked to be in doubt.
“Best news ever, no injuries,” Tuchel confirmed. “I hope it stays this way until after training today.”
With all options at his disposal, Tuchel will seek to outwit Pep Guardiola in another battle between two of the best coaches in the game at present.
Since taking charge of Chelsea, Tuchel has an impressive record against other elite managers. He has already overseen victories against Guardiola’s side in the FA Cup and Premier League.
But the German tactician was keen to shift the focus away from the battle on the touchline.
“Much more than that,” he said. “It is not just me against him. We are not playing tennis tomorrow.
“I will prepare my team and he will prepare his team. I think there will be a very different lineup tomorrow from Man City.
“For me, it is about tomorrow, it is always tough to play against City when Pep is on the sideline. They have huge belief and success, continuous winning mentality.”
Tuchel will need to make sure his own players match those attributes, but gave little insight into what his message to his team would be.
“It is hard to answer in detail,” he admitted. “We had some messages already yesterday and it is our routine to have tactical meetings and sessions.
“Like I said, we are very well aware that Man City is the benchmark with this manager over the last years but in football we are always able to close the gap, we have done that twice.
“We were courageous, brave, suffered together and were strong as a team. We showed up in every single minute.”
Even so, he conceded that Chelsea are “slight underdogs, but that changes nothing” ahead of the crucial clash.
Tuchel gives insight into preparation
It is bound to be an emotional weekend for Chelsea’s staff and fans alike, as they look to lift a major trophy.
The magnitude of the game will have affected their preparation somewhat, but Tuchel explained how.
“We had a tactical session, not in the usual manner but don’t get me wrong, this is not a normal week,” he said. “The countdown is on, maybe the biggest match in Europe.
“It is a very demanding week, we need to get it right as coaches. Today was a relaxed day, we could enjoy some quality time in the hotel to relax and breathe a bit. Connect with our core, love to the game, the passion we all share.
“The tension is building very naturally.”