Thomas Tuchel insists Chelsea will not be taking the threat of Porto lightly in tonight’s Champions League quarter-final, even more so following the ‘big slap in the face’ suffered at the weekend against West Brom.
The Blues boss watched his side go down 5-2 to the Baggies on Saturday, a result he believes will act as a wake-up call for his players as they go in search of a place in the last four of Europe’s premier club competition.
While some have suggested that the Portuguese side represent one of the easier opponents remaining in the competition, Tuchel has rubbished the suggestion that you can face anything other than a tough opponent at this stage.
‘It’s normal that people create stories and it’s normal that Porto will play their role as an underdog,’ he explained. ‘They are obviously a very strong team in the Champions League so we respect them a lot.
‘We come from a competition where you can lose 5-2 to the 19th team in the league so we are humble with how we approach every game and we prepare 100 per cent professionally and down-to-earth for every match.
‘We play in the quarter-final of the Champions League and once you wish for an opponent, you will lose yourself in some crazy mind games. We have the feeling that we are strong enough to overcome Porto but it will be a tough match because I expect nothing else but the best Porto, a very experienced side and champions for many years in Portugal.’
The Chelsea head coach admitted that the timing of his first defeat in charge caught everyone by surprise but the most important thing now was how the group reacted to that setback in Seville tonight.
‘I could not see it coming, even when I watched it after with the video analysis,’ he added. ‘We got a big slap in the face and if it was necessary to remind us how tough it is to have clean sheets and to keep on winning then we have to take it like this.
‘It was only our responsibility and our fault that we lost this game so now we have to deal with the consequences. We hate to lose but in sport it’s about the reaction.
‘We won together and now we bounce back together. This is the next step in our development and this is what we go for.’