Chelsea train ahead of Real Madrid test
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Thomas Tuchel has urged his Chelsea players to show quality, commitment and courage against Real Madrid on Tuesday evening in order to stand the best chance of progressing to this year’s Champions League final. The Blues will entertain the Spanish giants over two legs for the opportunity to challenge Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain for the prestigious trophy at the end of May.
Chelsea have enjoyed a strong European campaign so far, booking their place in the last four with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Porto earlier this month.
The west London club have not reached a Champions League final since 2012, a game in which Didier Drogba scored the decisive penalty against Bayern Munich to hand Roberto Di Matteo’s side a maiden continental triumph.
However, with the Blues losing just twice in all competitions since Tuchel’s arrival in January, it seems as though they are well-placed to add a second European title this season.
Although the German boss will be optimistic of a positive result heading into Tuesday’s first leg against Real, his side will face a formidable task in downing the 13-time Champions League winners.
They breezed past Liverpool in the quarter-finals and appear to have a number of stars enjoying their best form in Europe, including Brazlilian youngster Vinicius Junior who starred during their 3-1 first-leg win over the Reds at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
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Speaking on Monday afternoon, Tuchel told a press conference that he is expecting Chelsea to replicate all of the qualities that have helped the club to earn seven Champions League clean sheets this season against Los Blancos.
The 47-year-old underlined the need to be highly committed to the job at hand, which will undoubtedly be to nick at least one crucial away goal while simultaneously keeping the hosts at bay.
Tuchel also stressed that he would like to see bravery and determination from the first whistle, suggesting that a strong mentality could be the decisive factor when paired with the top-class quality of Chelsea’s established stars.
“The most important things are the quality and commitment of the players,” said the Blues boss.
“Quality explains itself. Commitment is being ready to do the things which are necessary to help your team-mates, cover your team-mate when he’s going into a challenge.
“Playing your role 100 per cent reliably, this is commitment. Can the defensive guys rely on midfielders? Can the midfielders rely on the strikers? This is the huge effort that we put into the games, physically, and into defending.
“Then the next thing is courage. We play very brave, we defend up front. Never forget, sometimes it is the best defence to have the ball, so it comes also down to quality of ball possession, quality of counter-pressing.
“For good counter-pressing you need to be brave high up the pitch, you need to position yourselves very disciplined to not allow counter-attacks.
“It is also about commitment to block shots and to really have the mentality to not allow shots on goal. Then we have good goalkeepers.
“We are very happy with the number of chances we concede, because we produce these numbers regularly and the clean sheets feel well-deserved.
“It’s like attacking, it’s a team effort and it will always stay like this in football, which is the good thing about it, and we are ready to try for another clean sheet tomorrow.”
Chelsea will benefit from a lack of injury absentees against Real, with Mateo Kovacic the only first-team player to have been ruled out of Tuesday’s clash with a thigh problem.
The Blues were victorious in the last competitive meeting between the two clubs, clinching the UEFA Super Cup with a narrow 1-0 win back in 1998.
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