Thomas Tuchel believes the work he has been doing with his players on a daily basis will be more important than any last-minute team talk when we face Liverpool in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, but is confident his team has what it takes to beat Jurgen Klopp’s in-form side.
Chelsea will be at Wembley on Sunday for our fourth cup final since Tuchel became head coach in January last year, meaning the German has plenty of experience when it comes to preparing a team for big games on the big stage.
He admits he hasn’t decided yet what his final words to the players will be before they head out onto the Wembley pitch in pursuit of more silverware, but feels that comes second in importance to the work they do every day, believing it is vital for his team to carry on in the same manner which got us to the final.
‘It’s not decided yet but you hear me say a lot of times that we take care about the daily process,’ said Tuchel. ‘I don’t think that you take care of the final on the day before the final or on the day of the final.
Tuchel works with his players on the training pitch ahead of Sunday's final
‘You take care of the final on a daily basis before, when nobody thinks about the final, because this is what brings you there. Then the closer you get, the more routine, the more behaviours, the more principles must be installed that you can trust yourself and that you can be free because in the end the tension is growing.
‘We try to give less information, we try to trust them and trust in ourselves. For me this is not the moment to do crazy things, crazy talks, but even that changes from occasion to occasion, from feeling to feeling. It depends how you feel your team, what was the approach to the final and the opponent.’
Of course, on this occasion we face an opponent Tuchel knows well in Klopp’s Liverpool, from their time managing together in Germany, as well as the Premier League over the last year. With the Reds on a run of nine consecutive wins in all competitions, including a 6-0 thrashing of Leeds United last time out, our head coach acknowledges we go into the his final as slight underdogs, but doesn’t necessarily see that as a handicap.
‘Playing against teams who are coached by Jurgen is not only pure pleasure, because they give you a hard time and of course we’re facing him with a very strong Liverpool team on a very strong run of games, run of results, in brilliant form.
‘I think to a 51 or 55 per cent they are the favourites because of recent form, recent results. But we all know, like when we were the favourites against Lille and maybe still are, we know that in the end when we arrive, Lille will play to their full level and they will play the role as an underdog and not accept it as a disadvantage. So will we.’
Tuchel and Klopp have squared off three times in the Premier League over the last year. All three were close games, with the Blues winning 1-0 last season before draws at Stamford Bridge and Anfield this term, and Thomas feels our experience of matching Liverpool in those games is a big cause for confidence going into Sunday’s final.
‘We have things to trust on. We have experienced matches, tight matches against Liverpool, the last two were both draws. That will not happen obviously in Wembley, we will find a winner somehow. We know very well what it takes to have a tough match against them and we feel confident we have everything that it takes and now we need to show it. I think it’s the same for them and it’s nice to have a match like this in a final.
‘So it’s a big challenge but it’s a big occasion and we feel absolutely competitive regarding our last matches against Liverpool and this is where we want to continue. In the end it’s a pleasure to meet Jurgen, it’s a pleasure to be in a final at Wembley again and I’m very grateful for that.’
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