Thomas Tuchel addressed the media ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League clash with LOSC Lille on Wednesday night.
Chelsea visit the Stade Pierre Mauroy looking to complete the job to progress into the quarter-finals.
Last month at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea sealed a 2-0 win in the first leg. Goals from Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic ensured the current holders left themselves in a favourable position for the reverse leg in France.
The draw for the quarter-finals is on Friday, and should Chelsea complete the job against Lille, they will be just two ties away from a return to France for May’s final in Paris.
But for now, the focus is on the pitch for Tuchel and his side despite all of the ongoings with the Club takeover.
Here’s what the Chelsea boss had to say in full in his pre-match press conference:
On updates on Chelsea situation:
“No, there is not more uncertainty. It’s the same situation like in the last days. No updates.”
On mood in squad:
“Good mood. We couldn’t have two more different games than we had, in Norwich and against Newcastle in terms of playing style and obstacles to overcome. We relied on skillful play and controlled the game versus Norwich and managed to win the game. Against Newcastle it was a question of mentality, resilience, a question of physicality, of focus and defending, being brave and staying committed. That makes any coach in the world very happy how we won this match, we won it late. The mood is good. I am convinced the team knows what it took to perform like this, produce results. This is what we are up to again tomorrow. When I say we allow ourselves to focus on what we control, I mean it. This is what we do in the training ground. Like I said, the focus is to take the responsibility for the people who take the responsibility that we are in a big club. There are hundreds of them. This is what we do in the moment.”
On team news:
“I think Marcos is ready to start, Azpi is ready to start. We will try to have Reece and Callum later in training but will be a very tight race. We will take this decision after the training session. They were not involved. Let’s see if it is worth the risk, it will be very tight with these two
On time limit on takeover:
“We have to deal with it. We have some new things to talk about like how to arrive at games, things that are normally taken care of by the team management and organisation team. We have to put our heads together to work things out then find solutions. Also, matters like how to arrive at the match – this was not the case before. Some subjects we are not used to discuss but we have to, it is no problem to discuss it. We spend some extra time, extra hours to give our thoughts and find solutions. We want to find solutions. As hard as we want to play the match tomorrow and make it to the next round, we want to also play the match in the FA Cup on Saturday and make it into the next round.”
On his role as an ambassador & new owners helping him be just a head coach:
“Before we discuss a new owner a new owner needs to arrive, be approved and be allowed to own a football club. Then we can discuss about it if it’s necessary to discuss about it. Maybe, again, I am not the right person. There is a process how you become an owner in this league. Like I said after the last game, everybody relies on the reliability of the process and on the values which are behind the decisions and the allowance, permitment to own a club and run a club. Did I have a choice? No! I did not have a choice to take this role. Do I need it? No. Listen, it’s more or less day by day. It’s like this in England that not a lot of people in general in sports are talking at a football club. It’s a structure I really appreciate. We talk inside and of course we have people who are in charge of different roles and different responsibilities but to the outside it is more or less me who talks. Was it always comfortable? No but I think it’s necessary. I don’t think too much about it. I try to be honest, give you an insight, provide you information from a coach’s heart. Maybe this is what I try and you can rely on. I am more than happy if things calm down and we can speak about football!”
On travel and hotel arrangements for LOSC Lille:
“There are restrictions, we have to deal with it. There are adjustments in our amount of staff who is travelling, how many rooms we have in hotels, how we arrive at matches. That will come soon. To my understanding everything is in place now we can arrive on a professional level. It is not about luxury, it is not about bling bling. It is a professional level of sports where we play having only two days between matches while our opponents have four days. To arrive and decrease the possibility of injuries, for example. For that, it is better to arrive with a plane than to sit in a bus. We try to be as professional as possible in the frame that we can do it. To my understanding, we have a framework to go to Lille and play the game in Lille where there will be absolutely no excuses regarding this. It is like already a bit more difficult to arrange things in the best way possible in the FA Cup. As long as we have shirts, as long as we are ‘alive’, as long as we are a team and arrive with our players we will be competitive and fight hard for our success because we owe it to the people that support us in very invisible way. We are in the spotlight. It is our responsibility to do so and we will.”
On Chelsea fans told to stop chanting for Roman Abramovich:
“I heard about it some minutes ago. I don’t know if in these times this is the most important subject to be discussed in parliament. If fans chants need to be discussed in parliament, maybe we need to worry about the priorities of discussions there, but okay. No need to comment from me. We have far more urgent things to discuss and handle.”
On Edouard Mendy (as quoted by football.london due to French translation):
“Edou is a top guy with a strong character. He is also very humble. I think everyone at Chelsea, including the supporters, wish this success for him because he gives everything for the team. He is very calm and he transmits that calmness to our defenders. He always thinks about the team. He is exceptional and I am very happy to have him in my squad. I am pleased to coach him and it’s great to have him here every day. He is fantastic.”
On Lille (as quoted by football.london due to French translation):
“To be honest, I think they played well at Stamford Bridge. They were very physical, attacked high up the pitch. It was impressive. They had a good pressing game, were very brave, and had the mentality they had nothing to lose. I know the stadium well and the atmosphere the fans create. They will want to win and have nothing to lose. I know they like being in these situations and they will give everything to put the pressure on us and ask questions of us. They will play an attacking 4-4-2 that is aggressive, fluid and direct. We’ll have to be ready for that. But we are also confident in ourselves. It’s half time right now. No match is decided by a 2-0 scoreline. The second half is tomorrow and we’ll have to produce another top performance. I think Lille played on Friday so they’ve had a good amount of time to recover. That is why we have to be ready physically and mentally for a tough game.
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