We all knew Chelsea's unbeaten run under Tuchel would eventually come to an end one day, but not even the most pessimistic of us would’ve have predicted that to happen by losing 5-2 at home to the 19th place team in the league.
But, what’s done is done and thankfully, Chelsea get the opportunity to win back some lost pride, not to mention a crucial Champions League result, tomorrow night as we take on FC Porto in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.
And there’s good news from the boss in terms of fitness, as both N’Golo Kanté and Christian Pulisic were able to partake in training despite recent hamstring injuries, with Tuchel also confirming that Tammy Abraham will be back in the squad (ed.note: no reason not to include him since we can name 12 subs in Europe).
"They are fit enough to be in the squad and will be in the squad so this is good news. Christian went out right before the injury could happen. He said at half-time he felt if he continued it would be an injury coming so we had to take him off.
"Tammy is in the squad and NG [Kanté] just did the last test and will be on the bench. He feels very comfortable and comfortable enough to be on the bench."
Due to various Covid restrictions in Portugal and the UK, both legs of this matchup will be played in Spain, at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium in Seville, where Olivier Giroud made a bit of history by scoring all four goals in a 4-1 win over Sevilla earlier in the competition, in the group stages.
Giroud in fact remains out leading goal-scoring in the Champions League, with a return of six goals in just 229 minutes, including one in the previous round against Atlético Madrid, which won the first leg for us. So while Kai Havertz has been deployed at striker a few times recently and Timo Werner remains nigh-undroppable, Giroud is a prime candidate to start as well.
With everyone fit, Tuchel certainly has some big decisions to make. Let’s hope they’re the correct ones!
"[Giroud’s] in the running and in the squad. He’s absolutely excited to return to Sevilla and play there so it gives him a good feeling. He’s been very strong for us in the Champions League and he has history in Sevilla scoring many goals in this campaign.
"I’m super happy because today is the first time everybody is back in training so this is what you want. We will have some major decisions to take and I have the feeling that we’re absolutely ready for tomorrow’s game."
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Chelsea FC
FC Porto may be the underdogs on paper, but football is played on the pitch. And the Champions League absolutely loves an underdog — we have to look no further than Chelsea's own incredible journey to win it all in 2012.
Tuchel is certainly keeping his team on its toes and is confident that his inputs as well as the attitude of the team will put the Blues in a good position to progress.
"The quarter-finals of the Champions League means that you play four halves, and four times 45 minutes minimum of high-level football.
"So we must be fully focused, absolutely self-aware of our strengths, we did already prepare some offensive movements from us, where we want to go back and which we want to refind after our game on Saturday and after the big break we want to refind our rhythm.
"The challenge is to be totally focused on our strengths, to narrow the focus down on one 45 minutes, then another 45 minutes, and then we will see what result we get and then we will see how we deal with it in the second leg.
- Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
All eyes on the team to produce a statement and erase the weekend's mishap!