LONDON, May 17 — Thomas Tuchel encouraged his Chelsea players not to waste the success of his first few months in charge at Stamford Bridge in the final week of the Premier League season ahead of a FA Cup final rematch against Leicester tomorrow.
Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by the Foxes at Wembley on Saturday to miss out on their first shot at silverware this month.
Tuchel’s men also face Manchester City in the Champions League final on May 29, but need two wins from their final two Premier League games just to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Liverpool’s dramatic late win at West Brom yesterday, thanks to goalkeeper Alisson Becker’s 95th minute header, means the Reds should finish in the top four if they win their last two games at the expense of one of Leicester or Chelsea.
“It is easier to be self-confident when you constantly win, but there is no need to be afraid,” said Tuchel after experiencing back-to-back defeats for the first time since he took charge in January. “We need to believe in ourselves.
“It’s super important for our ambitions (to qualify for the Champions League). The situation is very clear, it is still in our hands. It is what we have worked hard for.”
Tuchel dismissed suggestions the cup final defeat had put more pressure on his side to gain revenge against the Foxes.
But he lamented a 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal last week, when he made seven changes with one eye on Wembley, for blowing a commanding position in the battle for a top-four finish.
The German said he did not watch Liverpool’s late win at the Hawthorns due to his superstition.
“It did not help not to watch it,” he added. “It does not make things boring, it was a fantastic header in the last minute that makes things pretty interesting, but it is still in our hands.
“The setback was the Arsenal game, it is our fault it is so close again. We left the door open and Liverpool put a foot into the door.
“We had a huge performance so far but we need to finish the job. We need to focus, forget the other results and rely on ourselves.” — AFP