Every word Thomas Tuchel said ahead of Chelsea's Premier League clash vs Tottenham Hotspur
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Thomas Tuchel addressed the media ahead of Chelsea's Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon.
Chelsea play their first home game of the 2022/23 league campaign and the first is a London derby against Antonio Conte's side.
It was a 1-0 win for the Blues on the opening day against Everton, an excellent win considering their record on Merseyside at Goodison Park.
There is plenty to improve on for the clash in the capital and Tuchel's side are raring to go in their bid of clinching another three points, as well as maintaining their 100 per cent start to the new season.
Here's what the Chelsea head coach had to say on Friday afternoon in full in his pre-match press conference:
Wesley Fofana interest
“I will not comment. No matter how good your question may be, I will not comment.”
“We could use one more central defender. If you look at the numbers and we play with a back three. The profile of the guys in the three is a little bit different, I admit. Playing with Azpi, more a fullback than central defender. Cucurella it’s possible. Both of them cannot play as central defenders. We could use one more central defender. Let’s see what happens.”
Interest in strikers
“I think we could use and strengthen our squad in depth and strength in both. It’s one thing what you wish for and another what is possible. It needs to be possible. We are looking for top quality, top personalities, good characters and competitors on the highest levels. You don’t always get what you wish for and that’s why we are calm and ambitious at the same time. Quite some days to go until the end of the transfer period. Everything is possible until the end.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang relationship
“I enjoyed a lot working with him, was a pleasure. Some players stay your players because you work very very close, Auba is one of these players. We had a very close relationship. Always when we played him here with Arsenal, there was always straight away this close bond. They always stay your players in a way, Auba is one of these guys.”
Aubameyang at Arsenal being bad influence
“No (concerns) because I experienced none of this. This is nothing to do with the situation in Arsenal which I will also not comment out of respect. It’s not on me to comment, I don’t know what happened. In Dortmund there was never an issue.”
Beating Spurs four times last season and them closing gap to Chelsea
“I never felt a huge gap in preparing these matches because they are close matches and they are a very competitive and talented squad. I know very well what we invested and what level we played to beat them four times and not concede a goal against this quality of the team. In an emotional game in London like this, which means so much for everybody, it was a huge effort and big consecutive performances from us.
“I don’t believe everything that Antonio Conte says in games, before games and after games like this. I admire him a lot and I believe strongly that every team he trains competes for everything no matter which team, what club it is. This is what he proves right now.
“They had maybe the opposite last seven months from us, given the situation. Everything was clear. They had something clear to fight for. They put all the energy to make it to Champions League football. Their targets were clear, the set up in the club was clear. They took advantage of this situation and had a very aggressive transfer period. Very straightforward and excellent transfer period to strengthen in quality and depth. That’s why it’s one of the toughest opponents. Always is with Antonio Conte’s teams. That’s what we’re facing Sunday.”
Aubameyang reports in the media
“I don’t follow the press about Pierre. Don’t be offended, I don’t follow the press so much! I don’t know if he has a bad press or good press. I cannot care less. It’s not important. Nice try but we don’t talk any further! I was very polite to talk about my time in Dortmund but we don’t talk about a future with players that are not here. The future is in the next training tomorrow morning with all the players here in the dressing room. This is where the energy goes.”
Playing in the hot weather
“This is quite demanding. Was demanding today (in training). It’s a huge difference from yesterday to today in terms of the heat. It will increase until tomorrow. We adapted our training session times to early mornings. In a stadium it can feel even worse. (Sunday) at 4:30pm it will be quite challenging. I don’t know if it is already agreed but hopefully there will be a pause for drinking. We have some patterns implemented already to cool the body temperature down to improve the situation as much as possible but it will be draining.”
Five substitutes helping with the heat
“Absolutely but I think it will be draining for everybody. It will be very hot and demanding physically.”
Secret to keeping Spurs quiet
“I don’t tell you because I think we have to be very disciplined in certain regions of the game. They stepped the level up in their game. They play in the same structure so far and have a pattern in offensive pressing and in their attitude to defend. This changes a lot. It’s very important that we are good on the ball. It’s very important we are the dominant team. Hopefully put the game in the opponent's half and control the counter-attacks before everybody else sees them. Hopefully we don’t talk about counter-attacking because they are maybe one of the best teams in the world in counter-attacks and these movements. We did fantastic jobs in closing it down so the players were unbelievably disciplined and aware of the situations. That’s why we can never lose the structure and never lose our head while we are attacking. This is the moment, I believe, to stop the counter-attacks. When they start already you are already in big trouble given the quality, speed and determination of Tottenham so we need to be smart and stop the counter-attacks before they start.”
Confidence of bringing in more signings
“It is what it is. We will not panic and we will not do things, we will not try to sign players which we are not 100 per cent convinced. All signings so far are fantastic signings that help us. To be very honest it is day by day business now to coach the team which is here and not lose your head as a coach about what could be. What sense does it make if I lose my head in the office and think about players that are not here? We are ambitious and work hard to strengthen our squad further but we are calm, all the energy and ambition goes into the group that is here. We have still time. Maybe I can answer that question more precisely in September.”
Petr Cech’s departure
“We miss him a lot. I saw him in the last days and he knows from me directly that we miss him a lot. I know a lot of people miss him a lot. He was on a daily basis here in the training centre and he was the person who lived the values and attitude of what it takes to be a top competitor for Chelsea day by day. Was very impressive, a huge help for me and enormous support I never experienced before in this kind of honesty. Maybe this is his key quality. In all his effort he is humble and super honest. Was a fantastic relationship but we have to respect his decision. Maybe now we need to sort things out, everything is new, the line of communication is new, everybody needs to step up in the staff, not only me, in responsibility. There we go.”
Raheem Sterling’s position
“I think he should play in the last line or in between the defensive lines to drive towards the last line or run through the last line. He was very, very good in training in this free role as a number 9, dropping into half spaces. It’s such a lot of quality that there are many spaces to use for him. He can play from the wing of course, he is used to playing there. He was very dangerous, had an offside goal and big chance from number 9 which was more of a free role for him to play and I liked it a lot. Things are not finished. He came late to our pre-season. One thing is clear, the kind of impact he has physically and mentally, in terms of quality, it's huge no matter where he plays.”
“He (Marcos Alonso) is not in training at the moment and tries to finalise his transfer so he will not be available for (Sunday’s) game. It’s the same for Kova, who is injured. Has issues with his knee, always a little bit of a reaction. We decided to take a step back and increase treatment time to reduce the stress that comes from training to have a normal reaction before we start again. Everybody else is available.”
Heat affecting team selection
“It is demanding. It is more demanding, we see clearly from the data. The same training exercise in different conditions has very different output and effect on how you feel. It is maybe also a matter of how much you want it and accept it because it will feel at times very difficult and draining. It is also a question of who has the ability, the will to play through the pain. I’m not there yet that it influences my starting XI from the weather forecast but we accept the fact that this kind of heat has a physical effect on the players, of course."