Thomas Tuchel’s touch of reverse psychology as Chelsea boss tries to downplay the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid … but he’s not kidding anyone!
- Chelsea claimed an away goal in the first leg of their semi-final at Real Madrid
- Tuchel tried to take the pressure off their second leg draw on Wednesday
- The German boss says he does not see the Champions League as the ‘holy grail’
- Christensen says the second leg could be the most important race of his career
He tried, but Thomas Tuchel was not fooling anyone. The Chelsea manager can downplay Wednesday’s game anything he wants, but we know the score.
“Since my arrival I have never had the feeling that the Champions League is our holy grail,” the German explained. ‘I have never felt here that we have a holy grail to achieve, or that winning the Champions League is the only goal that really counts.
It’s the opposite. I have a strong feeling that every win counts and that we demand from this team and the club that we win every game, no matter who is on the other side of the field. ‘
Thomas Tuchel tried to ease the pressure of Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final
Tuchel was clearly trying to relieve at least some of the pressure on his players leading up to a night that will be riddled with dread. Suffice it to say, however, that his attempts at reverse psychology are unlikely to work.
He knows what is at stake against Real Madrid. The supporters know. The board knows. Most importantly, the players know.
When asked whether Wednesday’s second leg, with a draw at 1-1, is the biggest race of his career, Andreas Christensen replied: ‘That could be. It is of great importance not only to me, but to the whole club. It’s hard to leave and play it like a normal game because we know how much it means to the club and we haven’t been in this situation since 2012. ‘
In another trick to ease tension, Tuchel gave his players permission to stay with their families on Tuesday night instead of letting them stay overnight at the team’s hotel. The team will meet again this morning to prepare for a clash too close to call after the draw in Madrid.
Chelsea claimed an away goal at Real Madrid and signed the first leg 1-1 with the LaLiga giants
Andreas Christensen believes the second leg could be the most important race of his career
The coach hopes that by spending the night at home his players will be able to relax before their date with destiny, although relaxing will be easier said than done.
“We thought, because it’s a late game on Wednesday, to let the players sleep at home,” Tuchel said. ‘When we have evening games, I sometimes feel like it increases the tension when you go to a hotel the night before.
“So let them go home, let them get a little distracted and we have a date, have lunch and we have seven more hours together. I feel our great strength is that we arrive as a team that is used to this pressure and this amount of faith and determination to win games.
This is a good push because if you make things too big, it doesn’t help anyone and it devalues your performance in every other game. We know Wednesday is a huge opportunity and you can be sure that we will give everything to make it to the final. ‘
Indeed, what awaits the Chelsea players after lunch and an afternoon walk is their own crack in history – an opportunity to create their own legacy.
Frank Lampard (left) and Didier Drogba (right) won the Champions League in 2012
Munich in 2012 was the most memorable night in the club’s history, their one and only Champions League victory. Didier Drogba. Frank Lampard. Petr Cech. Ashley Cole. Legends.
Christensen arrived at Chelsea from Brondby during that euphoric summer. Nine years later and here he is, about to play in the final in Istanbul later this month.
“The quality of the club has brought me here in the first place,” explained the Danish defender. ‘We’ve been fighting for it for a long time and it hasn’t quite happened. We are in a good position and have a good balance between younger and experienced players. I look forward.
‘It means a lot to us, the game means a lot to us and the club. It’s just something we really want to try to win and that’s why we all play football for these big trophies. I already knew I was going to Chelsea when we won it and I followed it very, very closely.
‘At that point you hoped to be able to do it. That hope is still there. Everyone at the club wants to be a part of its history. ‘