The Chelsea coach talks about the coming shock against Real Madrid and is wary of the Merengue club.
Do you have a lot of confidence after the first leg?
The best thing is that they really feel it, and they did it during the first half. I think we all thought we could be stronger in the second half. We have rested some players, and now we have three days in between, so the challenge will be to maintain the intensity throughout the game. It’s important, it’s a semi-final, the pressure is strong, it’s a knockout game. This is the second and most decisive step, so arriving with a certain level of belief and self-confidence is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, we don’t stand a chance against a team like Real Madrid. And it doesn’t help that much if your coach talks about it, we really have to feel it. If I mention it, it’s only because I’m sure they feel it, and you can see it in the matches, that the team is aware of itself and able to produce performances. And they are also aware of the challenge that lies ahead. And it’s the best feeling to arrive with an almost complete team, in good shape, with a good performance and a good result in the first leg. So everything is now open for the return leg. I’m very happy that we were able to beat Fulham in between, so we have nothing to fear, nothing to regret. And now is the time to enjoy the training and be ready tomorrow.
Pulisic in 10 in homage to Hazard?
Absolutely it’s a good thing, this decision to take this number, it sets the tone and it shows the determination, the dreams Pulisic wants to achieve and his own demands on himself. That’s a very good part of his decision, the downside to that decision is that people will always compare you with any number 10 in the world, and with number 10 at a big club like Chelsea. So that’s the downside and you have to live up to it. But right now he’s in a good position and he’s having a huge impact on our team. So all is well and we can be very happy tomorrow if he continues to make his mark.
Mateo (Kovacic) will not be part of the squad. I think Toni (Rudiger) is going to play with a mask, because he trained yesterday in a mask. Everyone is training today so hopefully we don’t have any new injuries today and that means everyone is available except Mateo Kovacic.
A more open match?
I don’t know if they’ll play in a 5-3-2 again or if they’ll upgrade to their more familiar 4-3-3. It might depend on the latest tests for Mendy and Ramos today. And from this decision things change, of course, by nature, because all training has its strengths and weaknesses. So at the end of a CL semi-final it’s not training, it’s how we play, how intense we have, what belief we have, are we brave enough, do we play bravely and are we playing at our highest level. So it’s always a tactical choice, but in these big games it’s more about individual tactical behavior than within groups and combinations. Can we maybe isolate Real Madrid in a two-on-one, three-on-two situation, how do we deal with these situations and can we avoid isolating ourselves in these small situations? So it’s more about how we play than what we play, same with Real Madrid. Because we are not sure how Real are going to play, we will fully focus on ourselves.
Timo Werner aligned despite his failures in Madrid?
Yeah but I firmly believe that Timo absolutely wants to score that goal himself. He knows he had a huge one in Madrid. But I think we all have to accept that sometimes attackers miss out on chances, big chances, and that’s part of the game. Not all the decisions are made yet, we have another session right now. And this is always the players’ last impression, do they feel confident, are they showing up today, are they strong to finish today? Remember, talking about the game and dividing the game between defense and attack is a good thing to do, but you can easily get lost if you want to cut football into separate pieces as it is a very complex game and a complex sport. So for me Timo like everyone else who plays up front has tremendous intensity against the ball and has a huge role in that we are so strong defensively, because it’s a team effort, how we defend and how we attack. So all the …