LONDON: Thomas Tussell admits that Chelsea are still lagging behind Manchester City as they prepare to face the Premier League leaders in an FA Cup semi-final, but have pledged to chase Europe’s benchmark next season.
Chelsea face City at Wembley on Saturday, with Tuchel chasing a maiden victory over Pep Guardiola, whose side are still on track for an unprecedented quadruple.
The German boss of the Blues believes that Chelsea still has long-term ground to compensate City, but has urged his players to close this gap for only 90 minutes.
“We have to accept that there is a gap between us and Manchester City,” said Tuchel, who replaced Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge in January.
“If you look at the spotlight in the Premier League and the games in recent years we have to accept it. And it is important to accept it without making ourselves too small.
“So from next year, from the first day of next season, we will chase them, we will try to bridge the gap between us,” added Tuchel, whose team currently has 20 points from City in the Premier League.
“And that is the point of reference. For me in Europe there are two teams that are the point of reference, they are Bayern Munich and Manchester City.”
Tuchel said his team, which has lost just twice since taking over, was confident he could fill the gap left by one game.
“I’m happy to compete with the benchmark in England and Europe,” he said.
“We want the dynamics of football on our part, and to play at the highest level is not to force things and we will need a little luck.”
Former boss of Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain Tuchel has taken over Guardiola five times and remains unbeaten against the director of City, whom he could also face in the Champions League final.
He revealed that the Catalan had a significant influence on his coaching style, admitting that he was stuck on screen during Guardiola’s tenure in Barcelona.
“He has a huge influence on me because when he was coach in Barcelona I did not have the opportunity to meet him in person, but I watched almost every game,” he said.
“I was very impressed by the way they achieved success, by the style they played, by all the types of academy, by the attacking ball.
“And what was perhaps most impressive about this team was the mentality and how they defended when they lost the ball.” – AFP