Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel calls on players to adapt to growing anticipation ahead of Juventus clash
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel calls on his stars to adapt to rising expectations but claim holders are NOT favorites to win Champions League for Juventus clash
- Chelsea enjoyed the role of underdogs in the Champions League last season
- Thomas Tuchel’s side won the trophy after beating Manchester City in the final
- There is a lot more pressure on Chelsea in the Champions League this season
- Chelsea will not go to Italian giants Juventus on Wednesday as an underdog
As if the task of winning in Turin on Wednesday night wasn’t daunting enough, Chelsea will have to do without N’Golo Kante.
The Blues were surprised when their midfielder tested positive for Covid. With Mason Mount, Reece James and Christian Pulisic already missing through injury, this is a snapshot of football in 2021: plans in disarray in the blink of an eye.
Of course the European champions still have the equipment to come here and win. In Romelu Lukaku they have a striker fresh from winning Serie A with Inter Milan in May, scoring 24 league goals along the way, although his record against Juventus – one goal in six games – is unimpressive.
Thomas Tuchel has called on his players to adapt to their growing level of expectations
Chelsea are no longer the underdog after their Champions League success last season
And in Jorginho they have a footballer at the peak of his abilities and someone who is well versed in Italian football.
“Tactically they are very strong, they know how to defend the penalty area,” said Jorginho, who has played 38 caps for Italy. “They are really organised. Juventus is a big club and they have been there for many years. We must try to break them through speed, energy. We respect them, but we’ll try.’
Yet it is not the case that Chelsea will go into the lion’s den as huge underdogs. Last season they enjoyed the role of dark horses, but this time it’s different. The fighters have become the hunted and head coach Thomas Tuchel has called on his players to adapt to the growing expectations.
“Perhaps people will pay more attention to us now. It’s hard to be seen as an underdog when you’ve just won the title,” Tuchel said.
“Last season we came out of a role that wasn’t a favorite and we got better with every game and got more confidence. We were seen as contenders very late in the competition. That can sometimes help. Now it’s easy to make us the favorites.
Tuchel says Chelsea players must ‘liberate themselves’ from expectations placed on them
“There is a higher motivation to play against us. We have to accept this. It’s our fault, we won this game. We like that the role comes from the outside a little bit.
“I don’t think we’re favorites, but we’ve shown people what we’re capable of. We must free ourselves from these expectations and (make sure that) these expectations do not become our expectations.’
Juventus’ early season form under Max Allegri should encourage Chelsea. The Bianconeri have barely set the world on fire since the manager’s return in the summer, winning just three of their first seven games in all competitions.
Their opponent Juventus had a difficult start to the season and is 10th in the Serie A
Tuchel believes Juventus’ struggle stems from Cristiano Ronaldo sale
Tuchel believes Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Manchester United may have played a part in Juve’s early-season struggles.
“Time will tell, but it’s no secret that no team will be the same without Ronaldo,” he said as he prepares to take on Juventus for the first time in his career.
“But they have a lot of talent, a very experienced coach, it’s a proud club that is used to winning.
“We play Juventus at Juventus. We have to respect the quality and tradition of this club.
“We also need to regroup and come back determined from our defeat to Manchester City.”