It's never fun to lose, especially when it's your second FA Cup final loss in as many years. Last year, it was Arsenal, this year, Leicester City.
However, at the end of the day, winning the FA Cup isn't as meaningful or important of an achievement as it once used to be, neither in prestige nor, more importantly in terms of competitive and financial reward. And when said final is squeezed in between do-or-die games in the fight for the Premier League top four, certain decisions may be made with other priorities in mind.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel confirmed ahead of the rematch against Leicester in the league just what the club's priorities were when we appointed him in late January. (To be clear, he's talking club priorities, not player or coaching priorities.)
Of course we wanted to win the Cup, too, but it wasn't the primary goal (except for on the day itself).
Rescuing the top four was. And still is.
"I am not a good loser but I want to be a respectful loser and I am not here to play the match [the FA Cup final] down because of financial reasons.
"We lost a big match, it was a huge match for us, we put out the best team possible, we did not rest anybody because we had the feeling that this game tomorrow is more important.
"But there is a but. Do we want to play Champions League next season? Yes, this is the target when I stepped into this club. I want to be very clear, the task was, ‘let’s try everything to be in the top four’. The task was not, ‘let’s try everything to win the FA Cup’ because the FA Cup, as big as it is, does not bring you to Champions League football next season. It’s the top four that brings us that.
"So, yes, tomorrow is another huge game. But like I said, the FA Cup final was big for us. Once you can collect silverware you try everything simply out of respect. And me and the players – be very sure about this – we think zero about how much money we earn [by qualifying for the Champions League]. This is not in our heads."
-Thomas Tuchel; Source: Football.London
As great as it is to win an FA Cup, if that is our only accomplishment and we don't even finish in the top four, then we're just Arsenal. And being Arsenal is unacceptable.
And we start avoiding that by winning today.