Thomas Tuchel has told Chelsea not to “overthink” their Champions League clash with Real Madrid as the head coach laid out their semi-final strategy.
Chelsea visit the Spanish capital for the first leg of their semi-final tie on Tuesday. It will be a big challenge for Tuchel’s side as they look to get the better of a team who have already knocked out an English side in Liverpool in this season’s competition.
But the Blues will go into this match full of motivation as they look to continue a run of three consecutive clean sheets.
Therefore, Tuchel does not want their approach to differ from what they have been doing in the Premier League and FA Cup recently.
“Be ourselves, that is the strategy,” he said at his pre-match press conference. “Rely on yourself, your strengths and do the things that make you confident.
“Hopefully we don’t overthink and overdo it.”
Chelsea go into the game on the back of a 1-0 win over West Ham which strengthened their push to remain in the Champions League next season.
Tuchel knows they need another big performance in Madrid but believes the win over West Ham has given them confidence.
“It is the best way to arrive in a CL match with a crucial win on our backs,” he said. “It is a crucial experience we have in our luggage, it makes the bond strong and close.
“Tomorrow we need clearly a top-level team performance.”
Tuchel continued: “The experiences that we have together, we don’t have to talk or convince them as a coach to be confident. This is what I feel, every match we are able to play at a high level.
“If we can’t play our nicest match then we don’t let our opponents play their best match.
“We have a strong bond in the squad, I feel very involved. Ready to work and suffer together.
“We should not expect crazy things from us but the same again on the highest level. We have had tough matches, important matches so we feel it is a good moment to play this match. We want to play hungry.”
Chelsea have no new injury concerns, but Mateo Kovacic remains out. Therefore, the Croatian will not get to return to the club the Blues bought him from.
“The update on injuries is short, it is only Mateo Kovacic we are missing,” Tuchel confirmed. “Everybody else is available and in the squad tomorrow.”
Tuchel outlines next step
Having made quite the impression since becoming head coach in January, Tuchel will be hoping to take Chelsea even further.
He has still only tasted defeat twice as Blues boss and one of those was inconsequential, as Chelsea still reached this round of the Champions League despite losing to Porto in the second leg of their quarter-final.
Now, they will come up against an even tougher opponent. It will be an intriguing test of their credentials.
But Tuchel denied that beating Real Madrid would be the next step for his squad, as he referred to their expectations in an honest manner.
“Maybe the next step is to keep the level and not over-expect to go to the next step.”