Chelsea host second-placed Manchester United on Sunday knowing that a win against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will reduce the gap to three points, and help them take a giant step towards securing Champions League qualification for next season.
Chelsea are unbeaten in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel since his arrival, and will try to continue their impressive run after picking up an important win against Atletico Madrid in the midweek. Having dropped a couple of points against Southampton in their last game, Tuchel will be keen to get Chelsea back to winning ways in the league against a tough United side, who haven’t lost an away game since January 2020.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the game, Tuchel admitted his team would try to win the game and reduce the gap in the table. The Chelsea manager added “Hopefully we can win – this is what we go for. We know it’s a big challenge because of their unbeaten away record.”
“We know what we’re up against; a team that can hurt you any second with individual quality, with speed. They are strong away, they can defend very compact, they are very, very good in transition. It will be a big challenge to defend all this.“
“The implication is huge, of course. If we get a win out of this game it’s huge for us. If they get a win it will be huge for them, to put a difference between us.”
On playing against Manchester United
Tuchel was in charge of Paris Saint-Germain when Manchester United recorded a famous win in Paris during 2018/19 season. He also oversaw PSG’s 3-1 win over United, and a 2-1 home defeat last year before he was replaced by Mauricio Pochettino in December.
The German admitted that the experience from those games will help him and his team to prepare for their game on Sunday. Tuchel added “We played against them in the Champions League – we unfortunately lost both home matches and could win both away games. Pretty strange results.”
“We hope that we can turn this around and win at home, but they are still unbeaten away from home in the Premier League. The challenge is big because they like to have space, play on counter attacks, to use their speed and absorb your speed.“
“But it helps a lot because we played two consecutive years against them and they were tough matches. We will use that knowledge and prepare our team.”
“We will underline our opinion and knowledge with pictures from the last four weeks, like always, and then we will prepare our team to hopefully win this match. We will totally focus on us, what we have to do to win this difficult match.“
“There is a lot to do but we are on a good run, and it will be a big challenge to be the first ones to beat them in a Premier League away game.“
On Chelsea’s tough run ahead
The Blues have a tough run in ahead as they travel away from home to face reigning champions Liverpool on Thursday, followed by a home tie against Everton, and an away game against Leeds before hosting Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
Tuchel admitted he is relishing the challenging fixtures ahead, but insisted the focus right now is on the United game. The German added “There was a London derby, a Champions League game against Madrid, and now Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton in the league, a series of big fixtures and challenges to overcome.”
“But it’s exactly why we are here. We are looking forward to preparing the team to be ready on Sunday. “
“So let’s see. We are very aware. Today was not a day where we focus absolutely, today was the day to bring the group together and do a good training on the pitch. From tomorrow on we will be totally focused on this game.”