Thomas Tuchel addressed the media ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid on Wednesday night.
Chelsea sealed a quarter-final spot following a 4-1 aggregate win over LOSC Lille in the last-16 to continue their hopes of retaining their European crown.
They face Carlo Ancelotti’s side, who they also beat last season in the semi-finals on their way to their triumph in Porto, in midweek at Stamford Bridge due to the Los Blancos knocking out Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round.
Tuchel has yet to suffer defeat to Spanish opponents and will be hoping to take a lead to the Bernabeu for the second leg in Madrid next week
On new owner expectations:
“A strong squad, confidence and support.”
On how Chelsea have reacted to weekend’s defeat:
“We had a day off which was maybe important to digest it. We talked about it but no special team talk. We spoke openly about it in a debrief which is normal.
“We set new targets which is normal in sports. We did not like what happened, it was very untypical for us and consider it the exception to the rule
“We were open to ourselves and allowed ourselves to focus on the match tomorrow because it’s what is needed.”
On Carlo Ancelotti potentially missing game through Covid:
“I’m pretty sure he can be the team talk and be in charge of players. But it’s always nicer to be there and have direct influence.
“As coaches, we like to be in the middle of the group and communicate with a smile, words. I hope he still makes it. I have the information he will try to arrive in the evening tomorrow.”
On Mateo Kovacic’s Chelsea journey:
“I think he is still completing it. He looks like a wonderkid in training in some exercises. Today he had an outstanding training session and is a fantastic character
A lovely guy, a humble guy, and so interested in sports. He’s so happy to train and deliver for the team. It’s a true pleasure.
“Even at Real Madrid, I was aware of his talent and I felt there was a next step coming. I’m very happy that he’s my player and plays a lot this season. He is crucial to us on the pitch and off the pitch in the way he behaves.”
On better Stamford Bridge atmosphere:
“We need it and we need to be better on the pitch. We’re the first to admit it. But we need the crowd to be better. We need everybody on the front foot.”
On Real Madrid challenge this season compared to last:
“I think it has nothing to do with last season’s game. Honestly. I did not look at it in the preparation. We did not look at last year’s matches. That maybe answers the question.
“For us, there is not a point to prove again or whatever. We are out there to bounce back from Saturday’s performance.”
On Karim Benzema:
“I gave all the praise to Karim Benzema. I said two years ago he was one of the most underrated players in world football, maybe not anymore. He deserves the praise for playing for so many years for Real Madrid. What he did to overcome the last stage for them, to carry responsibility. What a key part he plays for them as a captain now is very impressive. You can see what happens with the team in his absence. For sure a standout player and personality. It is unfair in this moment, to Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro – the guys who carry this team for almost a decade now. They are huge personalities, who I am genuinely a fan about – for sure not today, for sure not tomorrow!
On Real Madrid Champions League record:
“It’s hard to keep their record, they won it three times (in a row) and it’s an incredibly hard tournament. They trusted a same squad for a long period of time but it’s normal that cycles like this change at some point. In terms of a winning streak, reaching the final, maybe this is what happened. But we should be very aware that teams with this kind of experience, this kind of quality, flair can produce special nights and a special occasion. For us, it’s also a special occasion to play against Real Madrid and it’s why we feel pretty excited. We don’t lose too much sleep to think about where they are in Europe, we want to prove a point tomorrow again to ourselves. That’s our target. The opponent is special, the occasion is special so that’s why we are very excited for it.”
On Andreas Christensen:
“No concerns. Maybe it is a bit more challenging for him than normal, than in a moment where everything is clear and where you are fully committed to the club you play for at the moment, which is obvious – us and Chelsea. Maybe he cleared his future but I don’t know it. For me it is clear when I had conversations with him last season, in summer and autumn and through winter – the bottom line was that when you are my player you have to be committed and I will not expect anything less. I will not start digging into how much is he committed, how much can he handle now? This only leads to distraction. This is what I demand. He was out on Saturday (versus Brentford) and this was nothing to do with him personally, it was a tactical decision with a back four and was a matter of characteristic of the players. He is our player and we want to have the most. He needs to be focused, this is his job. He needs to be determined. This is what we expect of him and I think we can expect
On winning the trophy again:
“Can you ask me again at the end of May? Before that I will not talk about the final, absolutely not. Not before the first leg in a quarter final. It feels terribly hard all the time but it is what we love. This is the competition. There is no other way than step by step. It is challenging, demanding of course for us but this is at the same time what we love. We can deal with it because this is what we choose, this is what we love. It is nice to deal with it and have these experiences, two legs against Real Madrid is a top experience for sure.”
On Andreas Christensen’s decision over his Chelsea future:
“The situation of the club was pretty sure, I think I gave you an honest statement weeks ago. I told you I think he is in exactly the right place, he should continue his journey at our club to become the defender he can be, the real personality and in terms of playing minutes, the figure he wants to be. In my opinion he should not forget where he comes from, his education, his home. In my opinion he needs that kind of environment to bring the very best out of him. This is just my opinion. The talks in autumn in summer were constant talks in exchange with our players, of course. I hope my talks did not make him want to leave! I don’t think so. You cannot take these things personal. If he decides to continue his career somewhere else it is not personal. While he is our player I will not stop demanding everything from him. He needs to be fully committed, this is what we expect and what we’ve experienced. You have to ask him about his decision and in the end the reasons for this
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