Thomas Tuchel has told Chelsea not to lose their heads against Porto by allowing their first-leg lead to lure them into a sense of complacency as they seek to reach a first Champions League semi-final since 2014.
Chelsea won 2-0 last week and have now returned to Seville for the ‘home’ leg against the Portuguese champions with Tuchel arguing that the thought process is easier for Sergio Conceicao’s team because they know what they have to do.
Tuchel believes his side, who face Manchester City in the FA Cup on Saturday, should forget the first-leg score as he set them the target of reaching two semi-finals this week.
“In terms of adapting to the result, it's easier for Porto because they know very, very well what they need to do to go through: they need to score three goals,” Tuchel said.
“For us, if we start adapting we could easily lose our heads. Because what does it mean? That's it's enough to lose 1-0? It's good to have a draw, or better to have 1-0 for us. Why should we enter into this thinking? The challenge is to not lose your head.
“It's most important for me to be fully focused on what we do, and forget that we have already a result. There's nothing less interesting in football than the past. Everything that counts in football is the next match, the next competition.
“We will not change our approach to the game because of the result we had last week and we have to be free in our minds to react to the situations on the pitch.
“I hope we embrace the challenge, I hope we have the feeling this is a match everyone waits for since they were a little kid.”
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Tuchel has two chances to bring silverware to Stamford Bridge in his first few months at the club. He is not shirking the challenge by suggesting they can be successful in the future instead.
“If you want to finish the season with a trophy we'd better win both matches, otherwise it could be difficult,” he smiled. “Chelsea has the history and mentality and quality to win titles. It is what I demand of myself. Why should we say anything different, that we can win in two years or five years?”
Tuchel will decide on Tuesday whether to start with N’Golo Kante. The Frenchman, who had a hamstring injury, made a swifter-than-anticipated recovery to make a cameo against Porto last week and has come off the bench in Chelsea’s last two matches.
“It is hard to imagine a game like this without ‘NG’ but we have to be careful with him that we don’t take risks with his health,” said Tuchel. “The question for us if we want him to start or finish the game for us because there is the possibility of 120 minutes.”
Ben Chilwell scored Chelsea’s late second goal last week and said: “The two away goals could prove to be crucial. It is half a job done but we couldn’t really have asked for a better first leg and hopefully more of the same.”
Chilwell was dropped for Marcos Alonso when Tuchel arrived and said he used the opportunity to ask the manager how he can improve and adapt to the wing-back role, He has also sought to learn from Chelsea’s greatest left-back, Ashley Cole.
“When I came here I was keen to meet him so I could pick his brains,” said the England international. “He was pretty similar, he came at a young age and ended up becoming a Chelsea legend. If I can replicate the career he had here, I will be pretty happy.”