Every Word Thomas Tuchel Said Ahead of Chelsea's Premier League Clash With Man United
Thomas Tuchel addressed the media ahead of Chelsea's Premier League clash with Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.
The Premier League leaders will welcome Michael Carrick's side to Stamford Bridge sitting 12 points ahead of the Red Devils, and three points clear at the top.
Chelsea are high flying, while United come into the game off the back of a win in midweek against Villarreal following the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Here's what the Chelsea boss had to say in full in his pre-match press conference:
On team news:
"Kova is still out for the game on Sunday. N’Golo twisted his knee a little bit and feels quite better since the game. Seems like he will be out for some days. It is a matter of days, one week maybe. We still have a little bit of hope but almost a miracle if he makes it so we think about a week. Ben is out. He has a partial injury of his ACL. The decision is to treat it conservatively. The next six weeks will tell the story if he makes it and will be fully available after the six weeks hopefully or needs the surgery after that.
On Ben Chilwell:
“I only care now about the six weeks. We are very positive because the first reaction of his body is positive. Hopefully it stays like this. The full focus from everybody is to the next six weeks to bring him back to the pitch and make him play. This is the decision after all the examinations. This is a very responsible decision, no rush or pressure. This is the reasonable way to do this. The focus is now on the next six weeks.”
“We need to talk about it again in six weeks, maybe we don’t because everything is fine. This would be the best case, then there is a worse case and some shades of grey in between. We have to wait. It doesn’t help if we now speak about worst case scenarios because there is a best case scenario. The decision is made, the next weeks will give direction. If there are updates we will give you updates but this is what we have now.”
On Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United appointment:
“*Laughs* He helped me a lot because he was my coach and then he was one of the main figures to convince me to try coaching. He had a huge influence on all of us at this time because he showed us it is not necessary to follow people to the toilet in football games, that was the belief! These days the defenders follow their strikers wherever they go. He showed us it was possible to defend everybody in a zone. Listen, before I get carried away and talk too much, he is not appointed yet. Let’s respect everybody. Let’s respect Ralf, his decision and the club's decision. When things are done, maybe we can talk about it.”
On Ruben Loftus-Cheek:
“I did not say it because I was not happy before (challenging Loftus-Cheek to prove his worth). I was just mentioning, I will always repeat it even now. I see the potential and he knows about his potential. I think as an academy player everybody was aware about his potential. The next step for him is to show it to everybody, everybody in the stadium must go home and know how good and strong Ruben is. That is the next step, to actually put the potential on the street and drive the car as fast as possible. This is what he is doing since many weeks, otherwise there would be no chance for him to play. It is about performance and he deserves to play. He deserved to play some weeks ago. He is in competition with N’Golo, Jorgi, with Mateo, with Saul. He is in one of the toughest competitions for minutes on the pitch. I can only repeat, I am still happy with Ruben. He was part of a fantastic performance (vs Juventus). This is what we expect because we can expect it from him. We will stay very demanding because of his potential.”
On Ben Chilwell’s injury blow:
“There is never a good moment for big injuries and injuries in general. This, for him personally, is a very bad moment because he was so involved, so good and so full of confidence with a huge part in our performances and victories. It is a shame, we are very sad. He is actually very positive in the moment. I spoke to him some minutes ago and he is very positive because his body reacts very positive to the first treatments and to the injury. After a while you have to refocus and focus on the positive things, which is now the next weeks. Now we do everything that is possible that he can come back on the pitch and help us again. He will come back strong, I am sure about it.”
On Manchester United’s underwhelming season:
“I was (expecting them to challenge for the title). Maybe I still am. I will never write anybody off, not in this league and not in this game because it is a big club. It is a very experienced and individually top level group of players. This is still the case. Part of the performance from us is to not let them perform because once we let them perform, you can see within seconds and minutes in every game the full potential and talent of these players is on the highest level.”
On Romelu Lukaku:
Romelu is in training. If you ask the player he will say ‘yes I can start for sure’. There is a difference between ready for training and ready for games. Then there is a difference between ready for games and ready for Premier League games. There is another step. Listen, we only have three changes. The possibility that he starts is not very high because we cannot be sure what happens in between matches. We have to find the balance between giving minutes and being absolute competitive for 90 minutes with the guys who play and start.”
On Chelsea’s level so far this season:
“We are on a very high level consistently. I am not into judging if it is the best, very best, second best. It is very strong, we feel very competitive. We feel we have a good mix of discipline and structure but also freedom and a certain sharpness and grip in our games and performances which makes us very happy and competitive.”
On Chelsea going from ‘hunters’ to the ‘hunted’:
“It is still a marathon and the marathon is not finished. We started this race as the hunters. Before the race is finished we will be the hunters if we can stay the whole race in the top flight and the group that is competing for the win. This is what we want, what we work for and what we dream for. This is what we are determined for. This is why we come to Cobham everyday and bring all our energy. This is what we want. There is still a long way to go. In between marathons the role does not shift. Man City and Liverpool showed us it is about consistency on the highest level and we have to prove we are capable of doing it.”
On the Academy players:
“Surprised? I don’t know. We saw it very quickly in training. We have some very good kids here. What makes me maybe the happiest is how much they care about the shirt and the club, how much they care about their career to make it here. This is very impressive and very nice to see. This makes it special. Not only for me as a coach but for spectators. Of course, for our supporters but I think for all people who love the game, love the teamwork in the game that can make the difference. It is a fantastic mix between homegrown talents, still young boys with the future in front of them. They have still not reached the highest level, still have grown in personality and character but also football wise. It is a fantastic mix between top players from abroad. That makes it very exciting for me to work with. I think that gives also for spectators and guys who love the game a special feeling, which is amazing.”
On changing his style after Ralf Rangnick’s soon-to-be appointment at Manchester United:
“I told you I listened to ABBA because I was in love with the singer! That was in my first years at school, the first four years. I had to go to school, I went by the shop where they sell the vinyl. That’s why! The music was, it was so-so. If you play football like ABBA, I don’t know if you make it through a Premier League season. Maybe not the whole season!
“We want to play every instrument. I feel in modern football, so many different things are demanded. It is so different if you play Manchester United, then Watford then Leeds at home. There is so many different characters of the opponent so you have to adapt. They oppose your style. It gets harder and harder. For that we need to have answers, to have different styles, we need to find solutions. This is what we are trying to do.”
On record low 24 goals conceded in 50 games:
“No (didn’t imagine it would go this well). Maybe this is a good thing. I didn’t have time to think about stuff like this or get carried away. I am not the person. You can easily get carried away or maybe hold yourself down because you think it is not possible. It was very difficult to imagine it like this. The decision was a very quick one. The situation was we were eight point behind Liverpool and they were fourth in the table. This was the target to reach somehow Champions League qualifications. What I can tell is that I was very surprised that it is already 50 games. It did not feel like 50. Time went by so, so quickly. It was a fantastic journey so far. I hope I make some more packages of 50 that I can add to it!”
On whether it is a good time to play Manchester United:
I don’t know if it is ever a good time to play against teams. That would mean we think we know or can predict something. You can see it either way. In the end, we will not lose too many minutes thinking about this. We will give all our energy and focus on our squad and what we want to do right. We only have one game with Michael Carrick in charge to focus on and analyse. Of course we have some individual behaviour and group behaviour that we think can be like, we can see as patterns and want to prepare our team for it. On the other side, it is always the best moment to play against Manchester United because we are up for the big challenges. We want to be out there and play on the highest level, to prove ourselves and prove a point. We just come from a tough match and there’s the next one. This is where we are and where we love to be. We get challenged on the highest level again on Sunday.”