Thomas Tuchel had admitted his ‘concern’ with Chelsea’s recent performances but insists ‘anything is possible’ ahead of the club’s Champions League final with Manchester City.
Chelsea face Manchester City in the third ever all-English final on Saturday, as both sides seek to take home club football’s biggest prize and be crowned champions of Europe.
Tuchel’s side head into the clash in indifferent form, however, having lost two of their final three fixtures of the Premier League season, alongside defeat in the FA Cup final to Leicester.
Despite losing to Aston Villa on the final day of the season on Sunday, Chelsea secured a top four finish and Tuchel admits the sealing of Champions League qualification for next season has alleviated some of the pressure on his side ahead of their final meeting with City.
“It’s a good thing,” Tuchel told a press conference ahead of Saturday’s final. “It’s strange as we hate to lose and we’re never happy when we lose. This feeling will never go away whether it’s a match that matters or not. For us, luckily, that will never change or feel good. It’s part of us we should all accept.
“At the same time, it’s a bit strange that we produce again numbers in this defeat when we say we should be the deserved winners but we are not. So it’s a strange feeling again to let it slip.
“For the third reason, there’s a big outcome and a huge objective that we reached. It was the main objective and target. A big achievement from all the players and everybody that helps us. We’re so happy we made it.
“It’s only about the match now. We have no other objectives to reach. We just play for the cup and that’s the mindset that we will arrive in Porto.”
Chelsea have enjoyed an impressive recent record against City and have twice beaten the newly-crowned Premier League champions in recent months, with Tuchel’s side winning league and cup clashes against this weekend’s opponents.
The former PSG boss admits he is unsure as to whether those wins will have any impact on Saturday’s final in Porto, calling Manchester City ‘the benchmark’ for clubs in both the Premier League and Europe at present.
“I don’t know if it’s an advantage but we know we beat Man City in two games. In a final, anything can happen in all directions,” he said. “Luck is a huge part, the mental approach – who can handle the pressure? The little details and adapting to what happens is very important. It helped us a lot to bond, grow and have self-confidence.
“Man City are the benchmark in Europe and this league. We are the guys who want to hunt them and close the gap. We want to challenge them and it’s what we will do in Porto.”
Tuchel opened up on his side’s recent form and admits concerns have been raised heading into the Champions League final, but believes Chelsea have been unfortunate in recent defeats to Arsenal, Leicester and Aston Villa.
“It concerns me because it always concerns me when you lose. It’s not so easy to get a grip on these losses because the data and statistics we produce do no indicate it’s necessary to lose or logical to lose. We are concerned because, like I said, it’s the worst feeling to lose.”
The German spoke further on the challenge facing his team against the Premier League champions, but is hopeful his side can better City over the course of 90 minutes and insists ‘anything is possible’ when it comes to major finals.
“It’s on us to close the gap for 90 minutes. We have done it already. We played this team in similar circumstances in a short period of time. It’s the time to believe and continue. In a final anything is possible.”