Thomas Tuchel is aware of how much of a danger man Harry Kane will be for Tottenham against Chelsea, but thinks he only has one “big similarity” with his own Romelu Lukaku.
Chelsea will be involved in a London derby at the weekend when they visit Tottenham on Sunday. Both sides have three wins after their first four Premier League games but are coming off contrasting European results in midweek. The Blues won in the Champions League against Zenit, whereas Spurs drew in the Conference League with Rennes.
Their focuses are both turning back to domestic action now though. It will be a tough test for both teams.
One of the key talking points ahead of the game will be the battle between two of the best strikers on the planet. Kane looks on course to break several records after establishing himself as Tottenham’s talisman. Meanwhile, Chelsea brought back Lukaku in the summer after his renaissance in Italy.
Although Lukaku’s scoring record prior to his move to Inter Milan was far from poor, he reached another level in Serie A and has returned to the Premier League a much more complete player.
The onus will thus be on either striker to play a major role in winning the game for their respective teams.
But Tuchel did not want to be drawn into comparisons at his pre-match press conference.
“There is one big similarity – they score decisive goals and they love scoring and they always did score, no matter in which competition,” he said of a pair of opponents who scored 63 goals between them last season and already have a combined six this term.
“So that is the similarity. Apart from this, they are very different players, very different style of play. We need to focus if Harry Kane plays on how to defend, where to close them down, maybe close the deliveries down, because once he has the ball he’s one of the most dangerous guys in the world to finish attacks.
“He is fantastic in conversion and there are some players around him who deliver well and who can also be decisive.
“Let’s see if Heung-min Son can play, will be for sure out there on the pitch also very dangerous. And we have also some guys around Romelu who are able to serve and deliver good performances.
“In the end it’s a team effort and it will always be like this.”
Kane is yet to get off the mark in the Premier League this season, instead scoring twice in the Europa Conference League play-off round against Pacos De Ferreira, after a summer in which transfer speculation followed him around intensely.
In the end, he stayed where he was – unlike Lukaku, who left cash-strapped Serie A champions Inter to re-join Chelsea.
The task now is for the coach to work out how best to build around Lukaku in attack. But Tuchel does not think that will be too difficult after assessing the balance of his squad.
“I don’t think it is a too hard a challenge,” he said. “We have Romelu in now. He is a key player. We lose some players in the group.
“We took the decision to have Ruben [Loftus-Cheek], Malang [Sarr] and [Ross] Barkley in our squad.
“These things take time. Everybody knows now who we rely on in our squad list.”
Tuchel previews Tottenham clash
Looking to continue their unbeaten start, Chelsea have no new injury issues for the game against Tottenham – for whom the situation is very different.
“No fresh injury concerns,” Tuchel confirmed.
“Christian [Pulisic] is trying to come back as fast as possible but is not in the squad. N’Golo [Kante] is in full shape and ready to play.”
As for Tottenham, they were already without Son, Eric Dier and Ryan Sessegnon for injury reasons. Furthermore, South American trio Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso and Davinson Sanchez have been training in Croatia to avoid quarantine issues.
To add to their lengthy list of absentees, Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn went off against Rennes and are now in doubt for the Chelsea game.
But Tuchel is not interested in who may or may not play for the opposition, expecting a tough battle regardless.
“I am actually not so much involved in speculations for who will and who will not play. We face a tough opponent. It is a London derby.
“We had a great result last season that we want to repeat.”
Echoing that sentiment when asked if it was a good time to face Spurs, Tuchel provided a clear conclusion.
“It is always a good time to play Tottenham as it is a big match and rivalry. It is one of the matches you want to play.”