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Kovacic out as Tuchel ready to do whatever’s necessary against Real Madrid

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Pre-match press conference ahead of the first leg

Chelsea Training and Press Conference Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea capped off a momentous week with a crucial win against West Ham on Saturday to strengthen our hold on fourth place in the Premier League table. Now, the focus shifts swiftly to the first leg of the Champions League semifinals tomorrow night in Madrid.

The importance and difficulty of this fixture cannot be overstated given what's at stake and Real Madrid's history in the competition. Tuchel will have a fully fit squad to choose from bar former Real Madrid player Mateo Kovacic, who's yet to recover from his hamstring injury.

"It is a very short update because it is only Mateo Kovacic we are missing. Everyone else is available and everyone else will be in the squad for tomorrow."

Chelsea's victory against West Ham was one of the many hard-earned, narrow, yet controlled wins under Tuchel. That habit is compounded by our tendency for woeful finishing, which has placed extra pressure on the midfield and the defence to not concede and see out close results.

But that approach could also be helpful in these knockout games, where margin for error is minimal. Tuchel believes Chelsea are arriving to face Real with exactly the required mentality needed.

"We liked the way we deserved this win in a crucial match again. We have now several matches at the highest level because we play in the most demanding league in the Europe, so we have it almost every three days. In these competition there are crucial matches and we delivered and we performed and we showed our skills and mentality in all the matches we play at Tottenham and Liverpool, and in the knockouts against Atletico and Porto and so on, and now again against West Ham.

"It is the best way to arrive in a Champions League match, with a crucial win on our back. It is another experience that we have in our luggage, and it makes the bond very strong and close and tomorrow we need clearly a top-level team performance when we fight with Real Madrid for a place in the final."

Games are won by more than just skill and talent of players. The determination of every individual contributes to the overall team spirit and team becoming better than the sum of its parts, as Tuchel alluded to before as well and is now trying to inculcate in the team. Chelsea's Champions League triumph in 2012 was built on these very qualities.

Whatever it takes.

"Every match I feel we are able to play on a very high level and if it is not possible to play our nicest match, we are always able to not let our opponents play their best match, which is also the definition of performance, to not let the others perform.

"I feel a strong bond within the squad and I feel us very involved physically in the games, ready work together and suffer together. If it is necessary to fight, we fight, if it is necessary to run, to run, if it is the moment to show your skills or to escape pressure with passing, or be dominant, we have in every match moments when we can do this."

- Thomas Tuchel; source: Chelsea FC

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