Thomas Tuchel has demanded a ‘physical, intense, focused’ performance as Chelsea look to bounce back from defeat to Brentford against Real Madrid.
Chelsea host Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie on Wednesday evening, with the west Londoners seeking a response following a home humbling at the weekend.
Tuchel’s side were beaten 4-1 by Brentford at Stamford Bridge, as the Bees secured their first win over their capital neighbours since 1939.
Tuchel admits his side needed time to ‘digest’ the loss to Brentford, but insists his side’s poor performance was ‘the exception to the rule’ and says focus is now turned towards Real Madrid.
“We had a day off which was necessary to digest it,” he said at his pre-match press conference.
“We talked openly about it in a debrief, which is very usual for us. We set new targets, which is what you do no matter if you win or lose.
“We did not like what happened, but we consider this the exception of the rule. We were open to ourselves and allowed ourselves on Monday to focus on the match.”
Tuchel outlined where his side need to improve as the club prepare to host Real Madrid, calling on both his players and the crowd to raise their levels ahead of a ‘big occasion’ against the Spanish giants.
“We need to be better on the pitch, we are the first to admit it, but we need the crowd to be better, we need everybody on the front foot,” he said.
“It’s a big opponent in a big occasion. Normally we have these atmospheres in evening games and big matches throughout this season, our spectators have given us a huge push in terms of energy, and we need it. It’s crucial in these games. Everybody needs to be on top level, and we need to be the first one to set the spark.”
Chelsea’s tie with Real Madrid is a rematch of last season’s semi-final, in which the Blues won comfortably across two legs on route to winning the Champions League.
“It’s scored by Mason Mount, who’s Chelsea through and through, who’s come through the Academy, and he’s just scored the goal to take Chelsea to Istanbul!” 😍
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2022
Tuchel insisted that last season’s clash has had no bearing on his preparations, however, with the Spaniard’s now under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti and 12 points clear at the top of La Liga.
“I did not even look at it in preparation,” Tuchel said on last season’s tie.
“That maybe answers the question. It’s a new coach, a new team, with spectators.
“There is no point to prove again or whatever, we are out to prove a point anyway to bounce back from Saturday’s performance. We want to play the right way, the way we want to play: physical, intense, focused.”
Tuchel was asked whether Real Madrid are not as strong as past seasons, with Los Blancos having enjoyed a period of European dominance to win four Champions League trophies in five seasons between 2014 and 2018.
The German dismissed that notion, insisting the Spanish visitors boast the ‘experience and quality’ to produce a performance and says Chelsea are ‘excited’ to renew rivalries with Real on another ‘special occasion’.
“It’s normal cycles like this change at some point, but we should be aware teams with this kind of experience and quality can produce special performances on special nights,”
“For us, it’s also a pretty special occasion. That’s why we also feel pretty excited. We don’t lose too much sleep about where they are in Europe. We want to prove a point to ourselves again, that’s the target. The occasion is special, the opponent is special, and that’s why we are very excited.”
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