Thomas Tuchel wants Chelsea to maintain hunger for more Champions League glory

Ahead of their opening Group H game against Zenit St Petersburg, German manager calls on team to keep looking forward and forget about last season's success

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Thomas Tuchel has urged his Chelsea team to maintain the hunger for more Champions League success, before their opening group game against Zenit Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.

The German manager only took over from Frank Lampard in January but still managed to lead the team to European Cup glory, after beating Manchrester City in the final.

Tuchel had reached the final the year before with Paris Saint-Germain, losing to Bayern Munich, but said he underestimated the difference going one step further would have on his squad.

“I reached a final with my team the season before and I had the feeling that it was a big achievement but to not do the last step is a huge difference when you realise what it means when you do it,” Tuchel said at his pre-match press conference.

“The most important thing is not to look back but to keep the hunger because that feeling creates a hunger for more and more.

“It's addictive. This game is about winning because winning changes your feeling, it changes your work atmosphere in the building and gives you natural confidence.”

However, Tuchel warned his team not to take the success for granted, despite improving his squad over the summer with the £97.5 million ($134.7m) club record deal to bring striker Romelu Lukaku back to the Premier League.

“It's absolutely necessary to forget it and start from scratch, to show this mentality again. This is what I demand from myself and from everybody else around, that we don't change in terms of hunger,” he said.

“We will have this experience together forever and we can create a bond out of it but it's about looking ahead in sport and taking up the challenges which are coming and the next one is tomorrow.”

N'Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic will miss the Zenit clash at Stamford Bridge due to ankle injuries, but Ben Chilwell could feature for the first time since May.

Tuchel was hopeful Kante would be back in action from his ankle injury for the Group H clash against the Russians but now expects the 30-year-old to return for Sunday's Premier League trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

“N'Golo had two training sessions yesterday and trained again today, but the Champions League game comes a bit too early for him” Tuchel said.

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Updated: September 13, 2021, 4:52 PM