Thomas Tuchel has called for Chelsea to be ‘super focused’ ahead of the club’s Champions League clash with Lille and Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.
Chelsea resume their defence of the Champions League when the west Londoners face Lille tomorrow evening, the first of two huge fixtures this week as the Blues meet Liverpool in the League Cup final this weekend.
It continues a busy period for Chelsea as the club compete on multiple fronts, having been in the UAE last week to win the Club World Cup after victory over Palmeiras.
Ahead of the clash with Lille, Tuchel has discussed the need for rhythm and managing his squad as Chelsea prepare for a pivotal week in their season.
“Not so much at the moment, for us it’s about keep on going and find our rhythm where we struggle a little bit, it’s no secret,” Tuchel said on managing his options at his pre-match press conference.
“It’s a bit strange to be honest, to have two league matches in six weeks, it’s very strange because it’s always nice and more familiar to sink into a competition, there are so many different levels of games now.
“It’s a bit strange to understand the situation in which we are in the Premier League. On the other hand, it’s nice because it tells us we are still in a lot of competitions and competitive. We take it match by match more than ever before.
“It is the moment to be super focused and not worry about the big picture because that would make us look at a lot of different pictures and environments. The Premier League isn’t about knockout matches, it’s about consistency. It changes a lot the environment but we have to adapt but in terms of team management, we don’t think ahead. We bring the best group tomorrow for the game and then we will take care about Sunday’s match.”
Tuchel discussed the threat Lille will pose this week, having regularly faced the French side during his time in charge of Paris Saint-Germain.
Lille were crowned as winners of Ligue 1 last season after finishing ahead of PSG in the title race, but have struggled to replicate that success amid mass changes and are 11th in France at present.
Tuchel is predicting a tough challenge despite their indifferent domestic form, however, warning his side that Lille have ‘nothing to lose’ against the European champions.
“They had a fantastic coach and group of players. They are a very emotional club and it’s difficult to play in their stadium.
“The quality of the players and the coach was exceptional and you felt they could fight for a chance in the Champions League. Last season they became French champions, which is huge.
“From there they have lost players and the coach and that is a huge change. If the change is so big it can take time for things to settle.
“We all know how physical French football is. Players are very brave in one-on-one challenges and very disciplined on the ball. They have the chance to play this game as underdogs with nothing to lose and they will take it from there.
“We respect the game and the opponent and we will prepare our team as we always do and try to find the best performance, which we usually do in knockout matches.”
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