Thomas Tuchel has said that focus is solely on winning the next game, rather than extending their unbeaten run.
Chelsea are unbeaten in a record 13 games across all competitions under Tuchel, yet to lose in the German’s tenure since he took over in January. Ahead of their FA Cup quarter-final against Sheffield United on Sunday, the Blues will be looking to return to Wembley for the fourth time in five years, in pursuit of their ninth FA Cup triumph.
Although a win at Stamford Bridge would make it 14 unbeaten going into the international break, the Blues manager was keen to dismiss claims of protecting the unbeaten run.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Friday, Tuchel said, “If we look too much at what we have achieved, I don’t want that we protect what we have, this is already the past. If we can make it 13, 14 or 15, it doesn’t matter, but it’s natural that it sometimes affects you, and maybe you step back and want to protect it.”
Tuchel’s 13 games without defeat is the longest ever unbeaten run for a new manager in the club’s history, a remarkable achievement for a man who joined in such short notice. It is now a case of how far Chelsea can extend their new record, taking it game by game as they enter the final strait of the season.
He added, “I want us always to be brave, and always to be focused to go for the next win, and not to avoid the loss that kills our momentum and our record. The record is already history. I demand the maximum from myself and the team, and then we will see. I hope that we don’t enter situations where we are more afraid of losing a record than winning the next game.”
Chelsea are still competing in three competitions, making the final eight of the Champions League and firmly in the race for the Premier League top four.
The Blues now have the FA Cup semi-final in sight, where Tuchel would then aim to become the eighth manager in the club’s history to guide them to the FA Cup Final in his debut season.
Tuchel said, “I think it’s the most important thing that we compete for every competition that we play in. This is what it is about at Chelsea: if we play in the league, we play for the top stakes. If we play in the Champions League, we play to win every game. If we play in the cup, we play to win every game. We compete for the maximum.”
He added, “If we wear the Chelsea shirt, we are out there and it is our obligation to play 100%, to focus on our performance, to have our attitude right, be able to win the game. this is what I demand from myself, to prepare in the best way possible and to get the head straight and be out there in the same competitive attitude as the last 13 matches.
“On the highest level, you can never relax, if you want to keep the momentum going, you go up front and you don’t stand still.”
Chelsea will fancy their chances against Sheffield United, having completed the league double over the Blades this season. With the visitors rooted to the bottom of the Premier League and with a new manager in Paul Heckingbottom, it will be a tough test when they travel down to west London.
The Blues will have extra motivation after last season’s cup campaign, where they were beaten 2-1 in the final by rivals Arsenal. Chelsea will be determined to set the record straight, going out to defeat Sheffield United and move one step closer to lifting the iconic trophy.
On the club’s ethos, Tuchel explained, “this club shapes mentality and the attitude of the players. It is always my duty to be close to my players, keep them motivated, to clarify their role at the moment and never let them rest and adapt to their needs.”
He concluded, “In the end, there are hard decisions to make, which is a good thing because it shows you that you have a good squad, and on the other hand, the club is a big help, because the mentality is fantastic.”
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