Chelsea must overperform to overturn Real Madrid deficit, says Tuchel
Bengaluru — Chelsea will have to overperform if they are to overturn a two-goal deficit against Real Madrid in their Champions League quarterfinal, manager Thomas Tuchel said on Monday.
The Spanish side won the first leg at Stamford Bridge 3-1, with Karim Benzema scoring a hat-trick.
Tuchel told reporters on the eve of the return leg in Madrid that reigning European champions Chelsea did not have the “biggest chance” to turn the tie around.
“It is unlikely but it is worth trying, and trying means that we will play to our fullest and to our full limit. This is what it is, it is a big night,” he said.
“It is one of the biggest challenges to perform as the away team at the Bernabeu, especially if you need a result. It is still worth trying and it is still a stage where you can overperform. We need to overperform.”
Tuchel said Chelsea had struggled to compete physically in the first leg and the Premier League’s decision to limit teams to three substitutions in a match, compared to five in La Liga, hampered his side.
“We face a huge disadvantage in terms of physicality as Real Madrid play the whole season with five substitutes and we play in the most physical league,” he said.
“We struggled with our counter-pressing and finding intensity in runs. We will need to find a way to play a more physical game.”
Midfielder Mateo Kovacic said Chelsea still have a chance to win the tie, citing their comeback win over Napoli en route to winning the Champions League in 2012 as an example.
“We didn’t have our best game and our result is not good but there is hope and we are motivated to show our best,” Kovacic said. “Chelsea against Napoli, they lost 3-1 and then they came back. Football is always surprising and we need to be more than 100%.”
Tuchel said that Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ben Chilwell and Romelu Lukaku would miss the match, while defender Cesar Azpilicueta returns after testing negative for Covid-19.
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