Tuchel demands hunger from Chelsea as Blues prepare to start Champions League defence

By Sports Desk September 13, 2021

Thomas Tuchel rates winning the Champions League with Chelsea as his greatest achievement as a coach but challenged his Blues side to prove they have the hunger to keep on claiming the game's biggest prizes.

Kai Havertz scored the only goal of the game as Chelsea became European champions for the second time by beating Manchester City 1-0 in May's final in Lisbon.

It marked an impressive triumph for Tuchel, who had only replaced Frank Lampard at the Stamford Bridge helm in January.

But the German is keen for his squad to now refocus and create a culture of winning.

"I would say yes [it's my biggest achievement] but in general I find it pretty hard to rate achievements because who wants to be the judge and who wants to know?" Tuchel said ahead of Chelsea's Champions League opener against Zenit on Tuesday.

"I tried together with my staff to be the very best I can and get the best out of my teams. I did it as an Under-14 coach in the youth academy and I do it now. 

"To the outside, speaking of trophies it's obviously the biggest title I won so far. It was a huge night and big experience. It feels a long time ago, it feels necessary it feels like that."

Tuchel accepts becoming a Champions League-winning coach has altered his own mentality but says nothing changes in terms of having a desire for success.

"Some days I felt different, yes, I felt really good. It's a tough one, I think that in the end nothing is like winning. I was lucky to reach the final the season before [with PSG] and I had the feeling it's a big achievement.

"But not to do the last step is a huge difference when you realise what it means when you do it, the perception from outside, the joy, the confidence the team gets from winning it.

"We had the feeling to qualify for the semi-final and final. It's a big step but, when you win it, nothing compares. It changes for everybody. 

"The most important thing is not to look back, to keep the hunger, winning keeps the hunger, it's addictive, this game is about winning. Winning changes feelings, the atmosphere in the building, the work atmosphere and gives you natural confidence. 

"At the same time it is absolutely necessary to forget it, to start from scratch and to have hunger and that mentality again. It's what I feel, I demand it from myself and everyone else around that we don't change in terms of hunger, we will have this experience together forever, we can create a bond together but it's about looking forward in sports."

Tuchel also insists last season's surprise win was in no way tainted by the fact he took over from Frank Lampard midway through the season.

"It was never a problem for me to accept and totally accept the work from Frank he did throughout the group stage, this is what I accepted when I came in," he added.

"It still feels like my title, not half a title. I still accept Frank has his part. During the final I was still responsible and during the knockout stage.

"It felt like my team, we were all together. It does not mean we deny the work and effort Frank did. Do I feel like I have something to prove? No, this has nothing to do with it."

Related items

  • Kane playing like his party balloon's burst - Gary Neville says Spurs star looks unhappy Kane playing like his party balloon's burst - Gary Neville says Spurs star looks unhappy

    Gary Neville claims Harry Kane is playing as though someone pooped his party after the Tottenham star drew a fifth successive blank in the Premier League.

    The England skipper had not experienced such a league goals drought since August 2016, and his loss of form follows a turbulent period in his career when he looked set to leave Spurs.

    Kane appeared destined for a move to Manchester City, but that transfer did not materialise as the Premier League champions could not prise him from the north London club's clutches.

    He had five goal attempts in Sunday's 3-1 derby defeat to Arsenal but could not find a way past Aaron Ramsdale.

    "He doesn't look happy," Neville said.

    Pointing to Tottenham's 3-0 defeat to Chelsea in their previous game, Neville said: "Last week was a risk, I thought, shoving him out on the left wing. He was out on the left wing last week.

    "Today I thought he did play higher, to be fair, but the balls played up to him were just long punts in the first 20 minutes.

    "Harry doesn't look himself in terms of his body language. He looks like he's still carrying over the situation from over the summer.

    "He could still have had two or three goals today and a penalty, so there's still a contribution, but he's just not himself. Neither is Son [Heung-min].

    "Son and him look like they've had their balloons burst at a party as a kid. That's what it looks like."

    Neville said Spurs have "good senior pros" in their ranks, as he sought an explanation for why their form has nosedived since starting the league campaign with three straight wins.

    Rough losses to Crystal Palace, Chelsea and now Arsenal have seen them plummet from the top of the league and into mid-table.

    Nuno Espirito Santo may have a big job on his hands in turning Spurs back into a winning side, and Neville suspects some players are pining for a coach in the mould of former boss Mauricio Pochettino.

    "Those players to me look like they want a high-pressing, Pochettino-style coach that plays out from the back and gets the centre-backs on the six-yard line, rather than one that sits behind the ball and counter-attacks," former Manchester United captain Neville said on Sky Sports.

    With the derby defeat, Nuno became the first Spurs boss to lose as many as four times in his opening 10 fixtures since Glenn Hoddle in 2001.

    Kane attempted just four passes in the first half at Emirates Stadium and was successful with only five of his 11 passes across the 90 minutes.

    He has also failed to get a goal in back-to-back games against Arsenal for the first time in his Tottenham career.

    Former Spurs captain Ledley King said of his old team-mate: "He cares, but there's no doubt he's out of shape at the moment. He's out of form. He's a big part for the club so when he's not playing well we struggle."

  • Nuno takes responsibility for Tottenham capitulation in north London derby Nuno takes responsibility for Tottenham capitulation in north London derby

    Tottenham head coach Nuno Espirito Santo took responsibility for his side's damaging 3-1 defeat to Arsenal in the north London derby.

    Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka dismantled Spurs in a thrilling first-half display from Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

    Son Heung-min pulled back a late consolation, but Spurs have now lost their last three league games by an aggregate score of 9-1. Tottenham are only the second team in Premier League history to win their first three games of a season and then lose the next three, after Everton in 1993-94, who went on to finish 17th.

    Nuno's team were top of the table at the end of August, but they will head into October below Arsenal in the standings for the first time in almost 12 months.

    "The performance was not good. The game plan was not good. The decisions were not good. So it was not a good day for us. Definitely not a good day," Nuno told Sky Sports.

    "I'm going to be honest. When you have a game plan, you have to make the right decisions in terms of who you want to put on the pitch to develop that game plan.

    "I take responsibility because the decisions were not right according to the game plan. I won't name individuals but the game plan was not right according to the players who were on the pitch.

    "We were not aggressive enough to control the dynamic of Arsenal in midfield. We suffered when we wanted to go in front and we allowed Arsenal to always come to us. By saying that, bad decisions."

    Nuno started with a three in midfield but took Dele Alli off at half-time. Alli completed the five passes he attempted in Arsenal's half, but only managed 24 touches in total as he failed to have a shot or create a chance, while Tanguy Ndombele was similarly ineffective going forward.

    Harry Kane struggled again, though his tally of five attempts more than doubled the total amount he had managed across his other four Premier League appearances so far this season.

    Kane was partly at fault for Arsenal's third goal, conceding possession and then failing to prevent Saka making progress in the area with an attempted slide tackle, though Spurs were aggrieved that referee Craig Pawson did not blow up for a foul on the England captain in the build-up to Aubameyang's strike.

    However, Nuno did not look to make any excuses.

    "I didn't see the images. The referee and VAR are there to judge. My head is more now focused on what I have to do now," the Spurs boss said.

    "We prepared the game, we had a good meeting, but then we were not able to do it. We were not strong enough."

    Asked if a breakdown in communication was the main problem, Nuno said: "That's another issue. I would not say they are not doing what I tell them to do. They were not able to do it. Credit to our opponent, they were better than us."

    Spurs have now conceded three goals in their last three league games for the first time since September 2003.

  • Arteta wants Arsenal consistency after derby day joy Arteta wants Arsenal consistency after derby day joy

    Mikel Arteta revelled in Arsenal's North London derby win over Tottenham but preached the need for consistency following their superb 3-1 victory.

    Goals from Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka put Arsenal in a commanding 3-0 lead at half-time.

    It was a position Tottenham never looked likely to recover from, though Son Heung-min did score a late consolation for Spurs, Arsenal leapfrogging their rivals in the table with a third successive victory having started the season with three straight defeats.

    The Gunners sit above Spurs on goal difference yet, while the manner of the triumph delighted Arteta, he wants to see such performances on a regular basis from a team four points adrift of the top four.

    Asked what he liked most about Arsenal's display, Arteta told Sky Sports: "The determination, the conviction and connection with our people.

    "Today is one example of what we're trying to do, now we have to be consistent."

    On the rapid turnaround in fortunes after conceding nine goals without reply in their opening three defeats, Arteta told his post-match media conference: "That’s the beauty of this game and the danger of this game as well. It changes so quickly at both ends.

    "You always have to be alert and seek improvements which I think we can still do.

    "This is an Arsenal team that they have won a game today and their manager saw a lot of things that he feels very related to. I'm proud of the way we played.

    "It was one of the nicest feelings I've had in this stadium."

    The feel-good factor for Arteta was slightly dented by an injury to Granit Xhaka, who was hurt in the build-up to Son's goal for Tottenham.

    And the early signs point to the Gunners having to cope without the Switzerland midfielder going forward.

    Arteta added: "I'm pretty worried because it doesn't look very positive at the moment."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.