Tuchel on why Juve test will make us better and the key to pressing

Juventus have long been one of the stellar names in European football but coming up against them will be a fresh experience for Thomas Tuchel, who is relishing the prospect for him and his side.

As manager of Borussia Dortmund, PSG and now Chelsea, Tuchel has pitted his wits against most of Europe’s biggest teams in recent years. However, the name of Juventus is not on that list; not until tonight, at least.

The team managed once again by Massimiliano Allegri no longer possess their star man Cristiano Ronaldo, who has returned to Manchester United. Considering the impact that has had on the Old Lady, Tuchel said only ‘time will tell’ if they are stronger or weaker without the Portuguese in attack. What he can recognise is we are facing a club accustomed to success, which will embolden his own side.

‘It’s not a secret any team in the world without Cristiano is in some parts of the game a weaker team, because he is one of the greatest ever players,’ noted Tuchel.

‘They lost a big champion, a big reference and a big personality. But you can win games and be a strong team without Cristiano Ronaldo. This is also a truth. And they are.

‘They have a lot of experience, they have a lot of talent, and they have a big squad. They have a very experienced coach, and they are a proud club that is used to winning. They have a certain mentality that is shaped by winning, and shaped by the demand of winning.

‘It is my first time to play Juventus. We face hard competitors, and this is what we like. We are up for tough challenges and we hope to constantly get better. This challenge will make us a better team, and we are looking forward to it.’

An area Tuchel knows his team must improve on is pressing. In the wake of our weekend loss to Manchester City, he acknowledged he and his team were below-par in the planning and execution of our press.

This season we have a big target man leading the line, Romelu Lukaku, and Tuchel does not believe his addition has in any way changed the way we press as a collective.

‘You always adapt to the players you have and their strengths and weaknesses,’ underlined the boss.

‘We have shown we can play a high pressing game and have ball recoveries with Romelu. It’s a very complex game. We will have to be better in all spaces of the game.

‘We were too passive in the game against Manchester City. The defensive plan maybe also led to this passive behaviour, which was not the plan, but it led to it.

‘The best way to defend is having the ball and using the moments of ball losses better for counter-pressing. This is what City did excellently. There is enough room to bounce back and we must show that.’

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