Interview

Tuchel: We want to prove that we deserve to be the favourites

Thomas Tuchel believes the Chelsea players must embrace our status as favourites and play without fear when we face Brentford in the Premier League tomorrow.

We are back in action this weekend following the latest international break and will make the short trip across west London to take on neighbours Brentford in the top flight for the first time, after they earned promotion by winning last season’s play-offs.

The Bees have impressed so far on their debut in the Premier League, losing just one of their first seven matches in 2021/22, and especially at home at the Brentford Community Stadium, where they beat Arsenal and drew with Liverpool.

However, after facing several of the clubs with title ambitions in our own start to the season, Tuchel knows we now begin a run of games until the next international break against sides like newly-promoted Brentford where we will be the favourites, and it is a status he believes we need to accept, while showing we deserve that tag.

‘We have seven games where we are seven times the favourites and we have seven times to prove that we are the better team because we want to be the better team,’ he said. ‘I think we should not be shy to acknowledge that, we should not make us smaller than we are. We want to prove seven times now in the next spell that we deserve to be the favourites.

‘We need the certain mentality to do so and if favourite means that things will be easy, we cannot be more wrong. If being the favourite means that we still expect a tough one tomorrow at Brentford, then this is a good one to accept and then at the end we have to take all the pressure off our shoulders and take risks in the game and play with a certain freedom, because with the fear of losing or with the fear of losing your status you can win absolutely nothing.

‘That’s why if you play for Chelsea, then you play to win and you cannot be surprised if you are the favourites in a game against Brentford. We have the attitude right and when we have the attitude right then we hopefully get the result right. I have coached an underdog team long enough in Germany to know how capable you can be as a group to close the gap for 90 minutes. Now we are on the other side and try to make a point in every single game and it starts with tomorrow.’

Although he wants his players to live up to our status as favourites when we travel to Brentford, Tuchel is under no illusions about the challenge that faces us, with our opponents in good form and full of confidence, but he points to our 3-1 win over Southampton last time out as the example to follow.

‘Brentford will be up for it,’ added the German. ‘They play with a lot of enthusiasm and they catch already momentum and all the enthusiasm from getting promoted after so many years when they tried hard. And finally Chelsea comes, and not for a cup game, not for a friendly game, Chelsea arrives for a game in the Premier League and they have so many points on their side, they have such good results and they are doing a fantastic job and the atmosphere will be like this.

‘They will play with a lot of courage, they will play with a lot of confidence, but we cannot be surprised. We know all this and now it’s on us to adapt and to accept the situation like it is. They will not gift us a single inch on the field and we have to be ready mentally, physically and tactically. This is not a match now about knowing the solutions or out-skilling your opponent, this is also a match where we have to match the mentality and the attitude.

‘This is exactly what we did against Southampton. We accepted the role that the other team is maybe the underdog and we were the favourites, but it did not stop us. We played a very intense game and a very nice game of football against Southampton and we try to do the same thing tomorrow.’

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