Thomas Tuchel is still demanding “special things” from his Chelsea side despite third place in the Premier League appearing secure.
Chelsea reached the FA Cup final with victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday, having crashed out of the Champions League following extra-time heartbreak against Real Madrid in their quarter-final tie.
But Tuchel’s side look to have little to play for in the league, with top two Liverpool and Manchester City seemingly out of reach while Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United fight for fourth.
Chelsea are five points clear of fourth-placed Spurs, who have played two games more, and eight clear of Arsenal and United heading into the final weeks of the season.
But the former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund coach assured he wants more from his side ahead of a clash with Arsenal, who Chelsea could complete their first league double over since 2015-16.
“I’m not sure we don’t become second or fourth,” Tuchel told reporters at a pre-match news conference on Tuesday.
“So we will fight hard. We have a crucial four matches coming in a short period of time with Arsenal, West Ham, Man United and Everton.
“These are crucial matches for us given the task and what we want to achieve.
“It’s a big challenge physically but mentally to dive into the main competition that is Premier League. It seems like things are pretty safe, but things can change so, so quickly.
“We want to demand it from the team, and it is challenging for everybody, but at the same time, it’s what you sign up for when you sign up for Chelsea.
“We demand special things because we want to be a special group, we have the trust in the players that they can compete and overcome teams who are better prepared, have more days to prepare and less games in their legs.
“It’s on us to push the standards and to push the level.”
Back to it tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/2h363lzo9c
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2022
Chelsea have lost their past two home games in all competitions, against Brentford and Madrid, and will look to avoid a third straight defeat for the first time since November 1993, when the third reverse was against Arsenal.
However, the Blues could be forgiven for turning their attention elsewhere, with an FA Cup final against Liverpool coming in May.
Jurgen Klopp’s side claimed victory on penalties when the two met in the EFL Cup final in February, and Tuchel acknowledged he will be out to make amends at Wembley Stadium.
“Of course, we feel it. It was only some weeks ago we lost in the same stadium,” he said of the loss to Liverpool.
“In sports, if you lost against a team so recently, you want to turn things around quick. If you call it revenge or not, it doesn’t matter, but we all have these competitive feelings.”
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