Chelsea bring a 2-0 advantage from the first leg into tomorrow’s second leg of the Carabao Cup semifinal against Spurs, but head coach Thomas Tuchel is worried about a couple cliches. After all, 2-0 is the most dangerous lead, or so they say, and having one foot in the final can lead to even more complacency.
“I would actually say we have no foot in the final, none of the teams, whether it half a foot or a whole foot, there is no need to waste energy over these things. We play another tough match in a tough stadium against a very good team and a top, top, top coach so we need to be prepared.
“[We] had a very good match in the first leg but it is over, it is the past and we expect the best possible Tottenham side. We prepared in the best manner, we did for the first match and we will do it again for tomorrow. We have to be spot on, forget the first result and do it again.”
As much as we like to make fun of Spurs for being, well, Spursy, the players themselves mustn’t fall for that sort of thinking. Antonio Conte gave a harsh dressing-down of his team after the first leg at Stamford Bridge, and they will surely want to turn things around in front of their fans — especially after our 3-0 win against them there earlier this season.
The tactical battle will be fascinating as well, with Tuchel winning handily last week, forcing Conte to scramble at half-time to prevent a massive beatdown.
“I have trust in me, my staff and also my team and players. This is what we are used to, to arrive well prepared or you have no chance to win consistently or on that level. We have proved it, that is why we can allow ourselves to trust on this one, that we have our attitude right and then we will have the game right.
“We have a good result because we had a good game and a win but now it starts from scratch. If there are problems that occur, it is our duty to respond and shop reactions, this is what we do. [We] play a very important match in a derby against Tottenham, big stadium, big club and a very competitive coach on the other side so we need our best level.”
One thing that might help us in that regard is the potential return of Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kanté, pending various tests and exams, both for the virus and its effects on fitness and cardiac health. With several first teamers at least partially rested against Chesterfield over the weekend, perhaps there is no need to rush them back however.
“We have the same guys available as we did for the cup game. No new injuries or news which is good for us. We have to wait for a last-minute decision on N’Golo Kanté and Thiago Silva [including] cardiac tests, negative, of course Covid tests, but you also have to follow some protocols to bring them back to training.
“[Then] let’s see how they respond to the training. It’s a gamble, if we do it it’s a gamble and I’m not sure if we do it and how much of a responsibility we can take there. But we have to do it step by step, I’m not in the moment even sure if they come to training. If they come to training, we have to see the reaction and then decide then.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
No sleep ‘til Wembley!