Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says that it is unhelpful for people to class his team as favourites in their Champions League clash with Porto.
The Blues face the Portuguese side in next month’s quarter-finals amid a strong run of form.
Indeed, Tuchel has not lost in 13 games since taking over as manager in January. What’s more, despite Porto showing resilience in their last 16 win over Juventus, they have a torrid European record against English teams.
They have lost to Liverpool in the knockout stages in two of the past three seasons with 5-0 and 6-1 aggregate scorelines.
Sergio Conceicaco’s men also lost 3-1 and drew 0-0 with Manchester City in this season’s group stages.
Nevertheless, Tuchel is expecting a tough test after the international break.
Asked for his reaction to the draw, he told reporters at his press conference (via football.london): “First of all, I’m happy that we play an international opponent and not against an English team because the Champions League is about that, I always prefer to play against teams from other counties.
“We have the second leg at home which feels good, maybe that’s a slight advantage to finish at home.
“Clearly many people will make us favourites against Porto, that will not help us. It doesn’t help you. You can ask in Turin if that helps you. But we are self-confident and that is strongly connected with our performances.
“We are self-confident and that is strongly connected with our performances. So we are confident that we will face a strong opponent and face them with respect, but we are in the quarter-final and are focused on winning that.
“And our only focus is how we can reach the semi-final. We are self-confident enough that we see our chances.”
Tuchel happy with developing Chelsea trio
Tuchel was speaking before Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final tie with Sheffield United.
The Blues come into the clash off the back of defeating Atletico Madrid 2-0 in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.
Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech all played in that match and Tuchel says that he is happy to see a connection between the trio beginning to grow.
“Yes, they’ve actually improved a lot and this was also necessary,” he said. “We don’t need to talk around it, it is necessary for them to improve.
“They made the choice to join this strong club in the strongest league, and it’s a big choice to take yourself out of your comfort zone. I like that a lot.
“It’s only out of your comfort zone when you challenge yourself, that way you can improve. We made the choice for the three guys – as you know we’ve had many changes upfront – and we were sometimes a bit worried about our lack of composure, that we were not clinical enough. But we were never, in any of the 13 games, worried about work rate or intensity against the ball. This we can never forget.
“If you look at our first goal now against Atletico, you will see Timo making a defensive tackle before the counter-attack starts. This is maybe the thing that makes us very special, that we truly attack together and defend together.
“At the same time, I was very happy with the three together, we had a good connection between them.”