Thomas Tuchel has urged his Chelsea players to focus on this weekend’s clash with Fulham, despite the club’s Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid to come on Wednesday.
Chelsea host Fulham in the west London derby this weekend, looking to secure a positive result as they bid to strengthen their position in the top four and secure Champions League qualification.
The game will come just four days before a huge meeting with Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge, with the last four tie finely poised at 1-1 following the first leg meeting with the Spanish champions.
Despite the magnitude of that upcoming fixture, Tuchel has urged his side to focus on Fulham this weekend as they bid to keep ahead of the chasing pack in the race for Champions League qualification.
“Fulham is a good chance to keep our advantage in the league, nothing else. It’s a moment to prove to ourselves we can fully focus on one match. There is one match to play tomorrow, nothing else,” Tuchel told his pre-match press conference.
“I know very well it’s a match between two semi-finals. That’s not a usual week, and I’m happy because it’s a big thing to play in a semi-final of a Champions League, but it’s a moment to prove to ourselves we are capable of putting all our energy into tomorrow’s game. This starts with me, with the line-up, with the preparation, with the talk and the mindset from the coach.
“We are in the middle of the race and it’s not always super easy to switch between one competition and another, but who cares. Everybody can do easy.
“It’s our job to switch focus, and my job to find the mix, put the players in the right mindset, and prepare for this match in a way everybody understands its importance.
“We have not worked this hard all these weeks, and during the game against West Ham, to give us this advantage just to let it slip through our hands by not being focused.
“You can lose any match, this can happen, but us not being focused and prepared cannot happen. This is what I demand from everybody tomorrow. I want us to be fully on and not hold back one percent.”
Chelsea currently sit three points clear of fifth-placed West Ham who face Burnley on Monday night.