Thomas Tuchel admits Chelsea are still behind Manchester City as he prepares to face the Premier League leaders in the FA Cup semi-finals.
Chelsea will face Manchester City at Wembley on Saturday evening, with Tuchel chasing his first managerial title against Pep Guardiola who is chasing four titles at once this season.
“We have to accept that there is a gap between us and Manchester City. If you look at the games in the Premier League and the games in the last years we have to accept this. And it is important for us to accept this without making ourselves too small,” Tuchel was quoted as saying from The News.
The Blues boss believes Chelsea can still keep up with City’s game in the match, and will continue to chase City next season. For now, Tuchel urged his players to close that gap in 90 minutes.
“So starting next year, from the first day of next season we will hunt them down, we will try to close the gap between us,” said Tuchel, who is currently 20 points adrift of Manchester City in the Premier League.
Tuchel also acknowledged that Manchester City is a team that deserves to be used as a benchmark for big European clubs.
“And this is the benchmark. For me in Europe there are two teams that deserve to be benchmarks, there are Bayern Munich and Manchester City,” said Tuchel.
Even so, Tuchel said his team, who have only lost twice since he took over, have confidence they can close the gap in the match.
“I have come with great pleasure to compete with benchmarks in England and Europe. We want the momentum of football to be on our side, and to play at the top level is not to force something, and we will need a little luck,” said Tuchel.
Thomas Tuchel will have a tactical battle against Pep Guardiola in the FA Cup semi-final. The former Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain boss has faced Guardiola five times, however, Tuchel has never won against the Manchester City manager.
Of the five Tuchel vs Guardiola meetings all took place in Germany. Of the five meetings, Tuchel swallowed four defeats and a draw against Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.
Tuchel’s first defeat occurred when he handled the club FSV Mainz 05. At that time Mainz was 1-4 against Bayern Munich in the first round of the 2013/14 Bundesliga. In the second round, Tuchel also failed to bring Mainz to win at home after falling 0-2 from Pep Guardiola’s men.
Furthermore, when dealing with Dortmund, Tuchel also fell back to defeat Pep Guadiola with a score of 1-5 in the 2015/16 Bundesliga competition. However, in the second round, Tuchel was able to hold Bayern Munich 0-0.
Meanwhile, at the last meeting, Tuchel failed to beat Pep Guardiola again after Dortmund fell 3-4 from Bayern Munich in the 2015/16 DFB Pokal final.
Tuchel also admitted that he liked Pep Guardiola’s style of play. In fact, he said Pep had a major influence on his coaching style, admitting that he often observed Pep Guardiola’s style of play while at Barcelona.
“He was very influential on me because when he was coach at Barcelona I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know him personally, but I watched almost every game,” Tuchel was quoted as saying by The News.
Tuchel admitted that he was impressed by Pep Guardiola’s strong playing style in possession and attacking play.
“I am very impressed with the way they have achieved success, with their style of play, all academy players, offensive ball possession. And what is perhaps most impressive about this team is the mentality and how they defend when they lose the ball,” said Tuchel.