Saturday’s glitch in the Matrix, the 1-4 home defeat to Brentford echoing the 2-5 home defeat to West Brom 364 days earlier, has left Chelsea in a position where we can bounce back on a most special occasion — even if we played Real Madrid just last year (albeit still behind closed doors due to the pandemic).
Obviously, we’ll have to play and focus and execute a lot better than we did against our West London neighbors. Should that happen, Saturday’s ridiculous result can turn into a reality check in hindsight. It’s not something that’s been ignored, but rather digested and debriefed and acknowledged.
Now it’s time to respond.
“We had a day off, which was maybe necessary to digest it. We talked about it, but no special talks, no special team talk. We talked openly about it in a debrief, which is very usual for us. We set new targets which is what you do in sport no matter whether you win or lose.
“It was a crucial loss and we absolutely didn’t like what happened. We consider this the exception to the rule. We allowed ourselves on Monday to focus on the match tomorrow because it’s what’s needed.”
Chelsea’s performances against Real last year were some of the most impressive all season; this wasn’t the 2012 run to the final and the Big Ears trophy. Of course, expecting to dominate the Spanish giants and current La Liga leaders for a second year running is probably not something we should expect. This is a new challenge, for both teams, even if much of the personnel is the same.
“I think it has nothing to do with last season’s game. Honestly. I did not look at it in the preparation. I looked at the last matches of Real Madrid, we didn’t look at last year’s matches.
“[We] are out there to prove a point anyway and to bounce back from Saturday’s performance and to play in the right way, the way we want to play. We want to be physical, intense, focused and to be at our very best because this is what we need.
“[We] should be very aware that teams with this kind of experience, flair and quality can produce special performances on special occasions. For us, it’s also a special occasion – we play Real Madrid in a quarter-final. So that’s why we feel pretty excited. We don’t lose too much sleep thinking about where they are. We want to prove a point to ourselves tomorrow. That’s the target.
“The occasion is special and the opponent is special. That is why we are excited.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
With a full house and full hearts, it’s going to be a special and hopefully very exciting occasion indeed!