Thomas Tuchel will tell his Chelsea players to forget about their two-goal advantage in the tie as the Blues prepare for tonight’s Champions League quarter-final against Porto.
It is back to the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville, the venue for the first leg six days ago when goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell helped us establish a 2-0 lead and move a step closer to the last four, where Real Madrid or Liverpool lie in wait.
Chelsea have never been eliminated in a two-legged European knockout tie after winning the first leg away from home, a record spanning 14 previous occasions. However, with this being our first-ever ‘home’ game away from Stamford Bridge and our supporters only able to cheer on from afar, the influence of past form like that may prove redundant.
For Tuchel, the focus is on approaching this game like any other, with victory our objective and the only acceptable result.
‘We don’t approach games like this, to talk about the result we have and then change the approach to our game,’ he explained of the aggregate advantage. ‘It’s important that we are fully focused on us playing the best game possible again because this increases all the chances to have a result.
‘In terms of adapting to the result, it’s easier for Porto because they know very well what they need to do. They need to score three goals if they want to go through so for them it’s absolutely clear.
‘For us, if we think like this then we could absolutely lose our heads because what does it mean? That it’s enough to lose 1-0 or it’s good to draw? Why should we enter into this thinking?’
Tuchel wants his players to relish the occasion of a big night in Europe and the opportunity to reach a Champions League semi-final for only the second time since we won the trophy in Munich, and the first time in seven years.
Only skipper Cesar Azpilicueta remains from that class of 2014 so this may be new ground for many of the current crop to thrive on.
‘I hope we embrace the challenge and we feel this is a match that everybody waits for since he is a little boy,’ continued the boss. ‘Everybody wants to play decisive matches in the Champions League.
‘We have to deliver again and rely on what we are best at. We won’t change our approach to a game because of a result that we had last week. We are what we are – we have a certain way of playing and we will try to bring it to the best level.’
A 2-0 win told only part of the story of last week’s first leg, with Porto having twice as many shots as the Blues and forcing Edouard Mendy into a busy if not overly troublesome evening. Their quality, evidenced by knocking Juventus out in the Round of 16, means they will always cause problems for opponents, according to Tuchel.
‘You have to accept against Porto that it’s a little bit up and down in some minutes and we experienced that in the first leg,’ he added.
‘We managed to control the match in some minutes, to create half-chances, to find some space for acceleration and to have good counter-pressing. But in some minutes they escaped the pressure and they can be very dangerous with runs and dribbles and individual quality. They overload the sides and they are very strong on set-pieces so they give you a lot of questions to answer.
‘They can shift the momentum but it’s a totally normal thing because it happened in all their matches against Manchester City and Juventus [earlier in the competition]. They have quality, they are a proud club and a very emotional team so this is what we have to accept.
‘We should not over-expect from ourselves or lose our temper and patience because of these moments where it’s getting difficult. If it happens again, don’t worry because it’s normal.’