Last season’s meeting with Real Madrid will have no bearing on our upcoming Champions League quarter-final tie, according to Thomas Tuchel, and the boss believes his team are primed to bounce back after the weekend loss to Brentford.
Tuchel addressed a mix of English and Spanish media in the West Stand at Stamford Bridge this afternoon to look forward to our first ever home game against the serial European Cup winners in front of supporters.
During the press conference the boss underlined the vital role the Chelsea faithful have to play tomorrow, and he also addressed Real Madrid’s current status on the continental stage. First though, Tuchel revealed how the group have responded to the Brentford setback.
‘We had a day off which was necessary to digest it,’ he said.
‘We talked openly about it in a debrief, which is very usual for us. We set new targets, which is what you do no matter if you win or lose.
‘We did not like what happened, but we consider this the exception of the rule. We were open to ourselves and allowed ourselves on Monday to focus on the match tomorrow.
‘We need to be better on the pitch, we are the first to admit it, but we need the crowd to be better, we need everybody on the front foot,’ added Tuchel.
‘It’s a big opponent in a big occasion. Normally we have these atmospheres in evening games and big matches throughout this season, our spectators have given us a huge push in terms of energy, and we need it. It’s crucial in these games. Everybody needs to be on top level, and we need to be the first one to set the spark.’
When asked how our 3-1 semi-final aggregate win last season would affect this upcoming tie, Tuchel insisted it would have nothing to do with it.
‘I did not even look at it in preparation,’ said Tuchel.
‘That maybe answers the question. It’s a new coach, a new team, with spectators.
‘There is no point to prove again or whatever, we are out to prove a point anyway to bounce back from Saturday’s performance. We want to play the right way, the way we want to play: physical, intense, focused.’
No team has won the European Cup more times than Real Madrid, who have done so on a record 13 occasions. That includes a trio of consecutive successes between 2016 and 2018, and an earlier triumph in the decade under Carlo Ancelotti, whose presence at tomorrow’s game is uncertain after he tested positive for Covid.
Although most of the team who lifted those trophies have moved on, Tuchel was quick to dismiss a question suggesting Real Madrid are not the force they once were.
‘It’s normal cycles like this change at some point, but we should be aware teams with this kind of experience and quality can produce special performances on special nights,’ stressed Tuchel.
‘For us, it’s also a pretty special occasion. That’s why we also feel pretty excited. We don’t lose too much sleep about where they are in Europe. We want to prove a point to ourselves again, that’s the target. The occasion is special, the opponent is special, and that’s why we are very excited.’