Tuchel seeks EPL redemption, aims to harness Chelsea ‘anger’ in FA Cup final - GulfToday

Tuchel seeks EPL redemption, aims to harness Chelsea ‘anger’ in FA Cup final


Chelsea players attend a training session ahead of their FA Cup final against Leicester in London. Courtesy: Chelsea Twitter

Thomas Tuchel plans to ruin Leicester’s bid to make history, as the Chelsea manager eyes the first trophy of his reign in Saturday’s FA Cup final at Wembley.

Tuchel said he would lead an ‘angry’ Chelsea into Saturday’s FA Cup final after defeat by Arsenal dented their Premier League top-four hopes.

The Blues boss admitted preparations for the match against Leicester at Wembley would be made easier by his team’s frustrations following Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat.

“We all feel that anger on ourselves on the missed opportunity and the performance that night against Arsenal,” he said on Friday. “So it’s a good thing, in that it’s easy to prepare.

“Now the challenge is to focus, focus only on this match, focus on us and play on the edge.”

But he added: “I will not get carried away with emotions tomorrow. I am fully focused to prepare my team better than we did two days ago.”

The former Paris Saint-Germain manager has steered Chelsea to both the FA Cup and Champions League finals in just four months at the helm.

Winning his maiden silverware in English football would be further evidence of Tuchel’s impact.

They are fourth in the Premier League and still in a strong position to qualify for next season’s Champions League, but Wednesday’s defeat at Stamford Bridge makes their task tougher, giving Liverpool fresh hope.

Tuchel welcomed the availability of midfielders Mateo Kovacic and former Leicester star N’Golo Kante for the Wembley showpiece.

Croatia star Kovacic has missed nine matches with a hamstring problem while Kante was kept out of the Arsenal match due to a painful Achilles issue.

“The whole group is available, Kova is with us again,” said Tuchel.

“It’s huge because Mateo has everything that we need in midfield. He has experience, power, acceleration, deceleration, he can dribble the ball and beat players. He’s fast, he has physical ability and he’s experienced in big games and in the Premier League.

“When we missed N’Golo and Mateo in the same match we lacked a lot of quality, energy and experience.”

Tuchel’s side will face third-placed Leicester again on Tuesday in a crucial Premier League encounter, with the Blues boss describing them as “two finals”.

“There’s the final for the cup and the final for the top four,” he said.

“We missed the chance against Arsenal to be decisive, have the decisive advantage, so now we have to cope with it, and first of all show the reaction at Wembley to have the upper hand on Tuesday. And this is what we are up for.”

But Leicester, two points above Chelsea in the Premier League, will pose a significant threat to Tuchel’s ambitions under the astute guidance of boss Brendan Rodgers.

The Foxes are aiming to win the FA Cup for the first time in their first final appearance since 1969.

No club have appeared in more FA Cup finals without lifting the trophy than Leicester, who have lost four times in the showpiece match.

In contrast, Chelsea have won the FA Cup eight times, with their last victory coming against Manchester United in 2018. The Blues will be making their fourth appearance in the competition’s denouement in the last five years.

Having already beaten managerial luminaries Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho, Diego Simeone, Zinedine Zidane and Carlo Ancelotti since arriving at Chelsea, Tuchel will pit his wits against Rodgers for the first time as Blues boss.

After a frustrating end to his spell at Paris Saint-Germain -- where he won the French title and reached last season’s Champions League final before being forced out following a power struggle with sporting director Leonardo -- Tuchel has quickly erased any doubts about his suitability for Chelsea.

Cleverly covering up for the lack of goals in his misfiring attack by focusing on defensive discipline and work ethic, Tuchel has revitalised a Chelsea side who were spiralling down the Premier League by the time Lampard left.

Agence France-Presse

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