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Tuchel on key to top four race, squad fitness and Hodgson meeting

Thomas Tuchel’s attention switches from southern Spain to south London this weekend, and in his press conference to preview our trip to Crystal Palace, the boss explained how his team must approach this game and then the busy weeks that lie ahead.

Tuchel saw his side recover impressively from the West Brom setback to beat Porto on Wednesday night, and a chance to start a new winning streak comes at Selhurst Park less than 72 hours after kick-off in Seville.

Tuchel confirmed he has no major injury concerns ahead of the capital clash and only the suspended Thiago Silva will be missing. With the race for the top four getting more and more congested, securing three points is crucial…

‘It gives us no advantage we have a 2-0 lead against Porto when we play against Crystal Palace,’ said Tuchel when asked how his squad navigate this action-packed schedule.

‘It can give you a huge boost in self-confidence. Tomorrow is not the day to fulfil all our obstacles and reach our goals. Tomorrow is 90 minutes. You just have to focus for 90 minutes. We don’t have to think about Tuesday and Man City.

‘We have to start over and over again, and this is the challenge. It’s very important we are fully focused on every challenge we have, forget the games and results we had, accept every new challenge and raise new challenges right from the start.

‘We do it step by step and we can rely with full fitness, we arrive without big injuries, hopefully it stays like this,’ added Tuchel.

‘We can defend as a team and we can rely on our solidarity and strong bond on the pitch and the hard defensive work hopefully gives us a big amount of self-confidence to go through all these steps.

‘There are teams waiting for us who play a little bit less, but we need to accept it and rely on ourselves. The main target is finding a good balance between recovery, training and then being focused on taking it step by step.’

Tuchel will come up against Roy Hodgson for the first time in his managerial career

‘I met him personally once during a meeting here in London some years ago. He is an absolute gentleman, a very experienced coach who was open enough to share his experience in coaching. You can see it in the way his teams play. They play calm, they play with experience, solidity, organisation.

‘Crystal Palace are a physical team and have two key players up front which we absolutely need to be aware of. It is a pleasure to be on the sideline with Roy Hodgson and it means a lot to me, but we will do everything to beat him tomorrow. We expect a tough away game.’

Tuchel was also asked to comment on a social media boycott by some clubs in the wake of online abuse

‘I am not sure I have a clear opinion about if we as a club should do it. It is not my job to recommend, but we clearly support any actions against abuse on social media. I trust our club to take the measures that are needed.

‘Abuse affects everybody. People are affected by comments if they are in a newspaper or on radio or social media. Social media gives people a huge stage to give comments without a name behind it. It opens the door to abuse, and also positive comments, but you are affected by it and that’s why I try to totally avoid it.

‘In the end it becomes a concern not only for our players but for our society, because it has an influence.’

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