Thomas Tuchel reckons Chelsea’s run to the FA Cup final ‘made it harder’ for his side to achieve the club’s ‘main target’ of securing a top-four finish.
Chelsea head into the Premier League’s final weekend in need of all three points to guarantee their place in the Champions League for next season, the third-placed Blues currently a point ahead of both Liverpool and Leicester ahead of their clash at Aston Villa.
Tuchel’s side have competed on multiple fronts this season after reaching the finals of both the FA Cup and Champions League, suffering defeat to Leicester in the domestic final at Wembley last weekend.
Victory at Villa Park on Sunday will ensure the west London side’s place in the Champions League, with Tuchel admitting the club’s congested fixture schedule has made it more ‘difficult’ to guarantee themselves a top-four finish.
“It’s exciting if you’re playing for something until the end and we need to win to maintain our goals,” Tuchel told his pre-match press conference.
“For a long time I want to be in a bubble [and not know what is going on in the other games] unless there is something we need to know.
“We approach the game like the one against Leicester. It’s in our hands and we can decide things with a win so we are preparing to win this game.
“I will be absolutely happy to reach it [the Champions League] and that was the main target for all of us. Making the FA Cup final and the Champions League final has made it harder as we had so many games to play and it meant different levels of concentration and focus from all of us.
“We have a lot of respect for our opponent and we know how hard it is to play at Aston Villa against a strong team.”