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Every Word Thomas Tuchel Said Ahead of Chelsea's Premier League Clash With Man City

Thomas Tuchel addressed the media ahead of Chelsea's Premier League clash with Manchester City on Saturday afternoon.

Chelsea are ten points behind Pep Guardiola's side who sit at the top of the table. A win for the Blues would offer them a glimmer of hope in the title race, but defeat at the Etihad would put Man City one step closer to retaining their crown.

Gabriel Jesus' strike back in September was enough for City to claim a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge and they will be hoping to make it the league double over the European champions of Saturday.

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Here's what the Chelsea boss had to say in full in his pre-match press conference:


On team news

“No news which may be good news Trevoh will be out, Ben Chilwell will be out, Reece James out. That’s from the injuries. We have one positive Covid test with Andreas Christensen so out for the game.”

On Chelsea’s loan situation:

“We haven’t talked about it (loaning Loftus-Cheek out). He has a lot of game time, he has a lot to fight for here if we talk about Ruben and my personal opinion. Anyway, this will happen behind closed doors. When we have something to announce, we will announce.

“It is not only about the need of having players back but the possibility. When we send them on loan we send them for the full season, we send them on loan to have a full year. They have a certain role at their clubs. It’s not only about bringing them back. We don’t have the possibility to decide all alone if we bring them back.”

”Kenedy is back and I’m very happy about it so this is huge. A huge opportunity for him to make his mark at this club and in this team. We will try now from today on to push and support him as good as we can.”

On bringing in any more players:

“We cannot say Kenedy is the solution. He can be the solution but the situation has not changed. We have long term injuries at wing-back, we suffered a lot. We suffered in midfield from Covid and injuries. Now our midfielders are more or less coming back, we suffer a lot with our central defenders. Nothing has changed but it needs to make sense, to be possible, make sense on a high level and also in quality, personality. We have a look into the market, nothing has changed. We have all options, also the option to say no.”

On if Manchester City loss would end title chances:

“Maybe (if Chelsea lose title chances are still on), who knows. So far in the season as far as I’m concerned, they dealt better with injuries and Covid situation. Maybe is lucky, maybe they do it better. They have less injuries to key players, less days out and weeks where they miss them. They did not suffer from Covid like we did. This is the huge difference. We had some draws that were unnecessary. If you have your full squad you create a certain atmosphere for everybody that pushes everybody to the edge and you need to be on your edge, the very highest level if you want to compete with Man City.”

“They are the bench mark, the best team in England right now. This is something we have to admit realistically. We don’t think a lot in scenarios what happens if. Let’s play the game. I am always in for a good fight but also very realistic. If you look back to the last games, if we have the squad, feel good and are in a good shape, we are always up for a good fight with Man City. We are always there to push them to the limit and ask some questions maybe they don’t like to answer. But the situation is that they are very strong, very consistent and perform on the absolute highest level so this is it. Here we go.”

On postponement rules being bent due to injuries and African Cup of Nations:

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“I strongly, strongly hope that is not the case. Otherwise I would be very, very angry. We are doing everything to make games happen and we were made to play when we thought we should maybe not. I can only strongly hope that the rules are the same rules for everybody otherwise… yeah.”

On Man City being the toughest challenge in European football:

“Yeah, maybe. They are the strongest team in the UK. The Premier League is the toughest league in Europe, the toughest competition. They are on a level of consistency, quality and producing results even when it is getting close like the game against Arsenal, turning things around. They are very strong, it’s a tough one.”

On Pep Guardiola as the benchmark for managers:

“Yes. Simple question, short answer. For me yes. Everyone can have his own opinion. Look at his track record, what he did at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Man City. Look at his clubs, yeah, top.”

“Every game I try to learn from everybody, analysing every opponent. I have a lot of respect for Pep, everyone knows that but also for a lot of other coaches. I learn from him, from everybody, the game, my players. This is what I demand from myself.”

On whether Chelsea have closed gap to Man City:

“They opened the gap not over the last months but over the last years. I was never shy to say this, it is my opinion. We try to close it. We were self confident enough to say we will try to close it from the first day this season. This is what we did. We did very good. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be clear about it. I am absolutely happy with the players who travel with us and will be on the pitch. We will inject the most confidence, come up with a plan and push, help, support with genuine belief.”

“The team is a different team with everyone available, it’s as simple as that. If you have your 20, 19 players from 23, always and constantly available with always minor injuries. If you have them, this creates energy, atmosphere and extra edge you need if you want to be on level where Man City is. We don’t have it, it’s no excuse. It’s a description and explanation of the situation for us in the last weeks. It makes it even tougher. Does it make it impossible? No. It’s 90 minutes. In 90 minutes you can do anything. You need to be brave, to play with courage, a bit of luck and momentum. We need a top level. No problem for tomorrow but in general it’s like this.”

On what he learnt against Man City earlier this season:

“That my approach was the wrong approach tactically. It made us too passive, we could have done better. I think the approach was too passive, too defensive. It was not meant like this but it turned out this way. Lesson learned. They were too aggressive for our build up play, we did not have the solution to escape from our own half. We defended very well in the last 18, 20 metres of the field. We did not see much of the other half. Second half was better, a bit wild. It’s not the worst thing to have a wild match against Manchester City and to break out of the structure and all the control situations. Second half was better, lesson learned.”

On gap between Man City and Chelsea:

“At the moment it is a significant one. If you look at the points in the table, the consistency, it is a significant one and we have to prove. We have to prove to ourselves that we can step up and close it day in day out. We have trust in what we do, in our players and trust in the mentality of our club that we can do it. We have a strong squad, belief in what we do. We will be there but the situation is very particular in which we are trying to do it. As you know, I talked many times about the reasons. Without using this as an excuse it describes the situation. It is an explanation. We cannot look away from it.”

On Chelsea nearing highest level:

“Yeah because with every player we get back, we get back experience and alternatives, belief and self confidence. We had good results, good performances in the last games. It does not feel like it. From outside, we have N’Golo on the last bench and Thiago Silva. It is Thiago Silva, it is N’Golo but they joined the group with one training session. This is a little bit the problem. We have a good squad with fantastic mentality but once you are in training you are in the squad and we need a bit more of a fight, a bit more of a fight to bring out the extra edges. This is what we are missing, not in a bad way at all. It is not enough to find out 100 per cent. We need to overperform to catch City, to be on top of the Premier League. To overperform you need simply everybody, that's why we are hoping to get players back. If you have news like yesterday evening that Andreas is out after we wait so long after an injury for him to play so strong, one of the best players on the pitch, and again he is out. It’s a bit of a knockdown, a setback for everybody, us mentality. You finally have players back and it’s just like catching a fish. ”

On tweaking tactics between getting team sheet and kick-off

“To be honest I don’t expect nothing special tomorrow because it is a league game and not a knockout game. They are comfortably ahead so I think they will try to be the best version of themselves. I expect no tactical, nothing new. Just the best of City and it’s enough to deal with it.”


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