Thomas Tuchel has called for ‘focus’ from his Chelsea side as they look to book their place in the Champions League semi-finals.
The west London side hold a 2-0 lead from last week’s ‘away’ leg against Porto ahead of Tuesday’s clash, both games having been played in Seville’s Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium.
That first-leg advantage has put Chelsea in a commanding position as they look to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2014, while they also have the chance to secure a place in the FA Cup final when they take on Man City at Wembley on Saturday evening.
However, having arrived in southern Spain, Thomas Tuchel – who steered PSG to last year’s Champions League final – has urged his side to ‘not get lost in dreams or hopes’ against a side who have already knocked Juventus out of the competition.
“Once you are in the second leg of a Champions League quarter-final, you will not find any team that does not have the goal to arrive in the semi-final, and from there in the final,” Tuchel said at his pre-match press conference.
“We are also in the semi-final of the FA Cup so that means we play to arrive in the final, and if we arrive in the final we will play to win it. I was very clear, because there is nothing to hide, that Chelsea is a club that provides a structure, culture and quality to any coach where we can win games consecutively, and then of course we can titles.
“I’m here to win games and to win titles. This is what I demand of myself but there is no tougher match than the next game and there is no other obstacle to overcome than Porto tomorrow. We should not get lost in dreams or hopes or speeches. We are here to focus on the reality that we have a hard battle to fight in the quarter-final.”
Chelsea come into the game on the back of a 4-1 win over Crystal Palace at the weekend, a game in which Kai Havertz put in an impressive display with a goal and an assist. Speaking after that game, Tuchel admitted that his compatriot is a ‘quiet’ member of the dressing room and wasn’t one of the club’s battlers like a certain Diego Costa back in his illustrious days at Stamford Bridge.
Asked who was the dominant personalities of his squad, Tuchel named captain Cesar Azpilicueta, midfielder Matteo Kovacic and defender Antonio Rudiger – the German having recently been involved in a training ground ‘bust up’ with Kepa Arrizabalaga.
“Honestly, you don’t want to be in a fight with Toni Rudiger or Azpilicueta or Kovacic,” he responded.
“They’re ready to fight and it’s their nature to show it on the pitch and to protect the interests of our team. I’m pretty sure that our players feel very comfortable when they look around the dressing room and see who they can rely on.
“The best thing tomorrow is that nobody needs to do it alone. We are out there together – everybody on the pitch will help each other and we will help from the bench and from the stands.
“We will push hard, hard, hard for the best outcome and that means we have 90 minutes to fight to achieve a big goal.”