EPL

Tuchel: Chelsea will never give up hope of chasing down 'winning machine' Man City

By Sports Desk January 01, 2022

Thomas Tuchel insists Chelsea will never give up hope of chasing down "winning machine" Manchester City but accepts his side have to be realistic about their title aspirations.

City opened up an 11-point lead on second-placed Chelsea at the Premier League summit with a dramatic 2-1 comeback win against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Only twice in the competition's history has a team had a bigger advantage at the end of New Year's Day – Manchester United in 1993-94 and City in 2017-18 (both 12 points).

Chelsea will attempt to close the gap when they take on Liverpool, who are one point further back in third with a game in hand, in Sunday's contest at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues enter the match on the back of a 1-1 home draw with Brighton and Hove Albion and have taken just six points from the last 12 on offer.

That disappointing run has coincided with Chelsea being without some key players due to coronavirus and injuries, and Tuchel believes his side would be far closer to City if they had a deeper squad.

"At this particular moment, that's the key advantage," he said when asked why the gap on City is so vast. 

"The second thing is they take these advantages – they're relentless, they know what it takes to produce these high point seasons over and over. 

"There's quality all over, not only in the squad but the management, how it's run, it's a winning machine. It's not only about having an advantage but making it an advantage."

City accrued 110 points in the last calendar year, compared to 83 for Chelsea and 77 for Liverpool, and have won each of their last 11 Premier League matches.
 
Chelsea led the way at the top of the division at the start of December, but hopes of a title race that will go down to the wire appear to be fading by the week.

"They're very good. We have to admit where we come from, from one year ago, and when you look at 2021 we are 20 points behind," Tuchel added. 

"We have to be careful that you are ambitious but not overambitious about catching Man City in half a year. 

"This can happen, but we have to go through this because this is part of the process of closing the gap. Everyone here wants to make it happen fast. 

"Two, three weeks ago we had a super close title race. We had three teams competing. Now we lost the edge a little bit because of circumstances we cannot influence.

"That has given City a certain advantage and belief and they are five years now of consistency with the squad they have. 

"It makes it hard. But it does not make it impossible; we will never stop believing and stop pushing but we have to be realistic."

City are going in search of their fifth Premier League title and a fourth in the past five seasons.

But Tuchel does not fear the Premier League becoming a closed shop like the Bundesliga, where Bayern Munich have dominated for the past decade.

"As long as I am here I will do nothing else but to try and make other teams underperform," the former Borussia Dortmund coach said.

"We will not stop chasing, not stop believing. That is maybe the difference to the situation right now in the Bundesliga. We have to believe, but we have to face reality. 

"It helps in life if you are dreaming and you are realistic at some point. If you look at 2021, City had something like 20 more points than us and Liverpool – we're next in that race. 

"Everything has to fall in place for us so we can produce that consistent level that City and normally Liverpool produce. There's no need to get negative, no need to lose faith. 

"The opposite. We will stay hungry. Jurgen [Klopp] did it with Dortmund, we came close [at Dortmund] but were stopped in the middle of the process. 

"Both of us know how to catch favourites, we will not stop dreaming."

Sunday's encounter will be the 17th between Tuchel and Klopp-managed sides, with the latter boasting nine wins to his compatriot's three across those previous meetings.

However, Klopp will not be present at Stamford Bridge after returning a suspected positive coronavirus test on Saturday.

Tuchel in unbeaten in three against Klopp, but he does not believe he stands a chance against the Liverpool boss when it comes down to a personality contest.

"This is maybe the most unfair question that you could ask me," he said. "Jurgen could arrive without any team and the stadium would be full! I cannot do this, I will never try. He can do it."

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