Champions League match preview: Real Madrid v Chelsea
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Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic noticed an immediate “will to win” from Thomas Tuchel after he replaced Frank Lampard as the Blues head coach in January. Tuchel has spearheaded a stunning change in fortunes for Chelsea since his arrival. The German has led the Blues into an FA Cup final and sees his side take on Real Madrid in the semi-final of the Champions League, with the first leg at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano tonight [Tuesday].
Lampard was sacked with Chelsea ninth in the Premier League table.
But a run of just one defeat in 14 league matches since sees the west London side fourth, three points clear in the race for Champions League qualification.
Pulisic played under Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund and was handed his professional debut by the 47-year-old.
And speaking at a press conference on Monday, Pulisic explained the instant impact Tuchel had following Lampard’s dismissal.
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Pulisic said: “He is a great competitor. You can tell his will to win as soon as he gets here, right from the first game and that’s what it has been.
“Picking up some momentum and getting some good results early gave him and the team a lot of confidence moving forward. We are in a good position now.
“We have been tactically very strong at the back and very sturdy and tough to break down and able to get good results in the big moments.”
Italy international midfielder Jorginho was often out of favour under Lampard.
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Speaking last week, Jorginho claimed Lampard became manager of a club the size of Chelsea too soon.
“Look, I’ll be really sincere here on Lampard. I believe, given he was a legend at the club, he skipped some steps necessary for learning before moving to a big club,” Jorginho told ESPN Brasil.
“He came to a club where he is a legend, without having experience at other clubs.
“I think he came too soon, skipped a few steps ahead and wasn’t ready for a job at this level, to be honest.”
Chelsea are set to come up against their former hero Eden Hazard in the Champions League this week.
But Pulisic insists the Blues are doing just fine without the Belgian.
“He was an incredible player who did a lot for this football club,” Pulisic said of Hazard.
“We are moving on without him. I never played with him so I only know how it is without him.
“I think we are in a good place now. I mean we are in a semi-final of the Champions League, we have got a lot left to play for this season, so I think this team definitely has a good situation at the moment, so that’s a positive.”
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