Chelsea take on Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final this week and it’s pretty clear that Thomas Tuchel has not told any fairytales to his players.
Chelsea’s performances have been really good under their new manager which has prompted many to believe that the London outfit could go into the semi-final as equals with Manchester City.
But when Tuchel was asked this exact question, the manager was quick to state the obvious and somewhat bitter truth.
The manager said on Friday: ‘Yes and no. We have to accept there is a gap between us and Manchester City, but it’s important we accept it without making us too small.
‘For 90 minutes we are very self-aware and confident we can close the gap for one game. This is the target for tomorrow. We want to have momentum of the ball on our side, so we have to play at our top level, force things, and get a bit of luck.
‘English football, City’s game and our game is about intensity with and without the ball. I expect a very offensive match, a very physical match.
‘City have a clear style and DNA. They want to have possession and ball recoveries, and so do we. We have to be on point with our precision, passing and positioning if we want to hurt them. We need to be on it so we don’t allow easy chances or space between our lines. We have to play with courage and play adventurously.
‘I hope we catch the moments where we can make them suffer. Then, from day one of next season, we will hunt them and try to close the gap between us. This is the benchmark for me.’
Chelsea have improved in leaps and bounds under their new manager but Manchester City are playing a totally different brand of football right now.
They have been picking up wins for fun and after their surprising loss to Leeds United, they quickly got things back on track by knocking Borussia Dortmund out of the Champions League in midweek.
Also, Guardiola has a fully fit squad to choose from so that makes things even more worrying for the Chelsea boss. The Man City manager tends to come up with surprising tactics in the big games and there’s every chance he could pull another rabbit out of his hat this weekend.
Thankfully, Chelsea have shown real defensive rigidity in the past few months which will be a great uplifting factor as they prepare to face Manchester City.