Thomas Tuchel has insisted that Chelsea are mentally strong enough to recover from their defeat to Leicester in the FA Cup final and make sure they do not blow qualification for the Champions League.
Chelsea, who face Manchester City in the Champions League final on 29 May, face a battle to ensure their season does not fizzle out after following last week’s limp defeat to Arsenal in the league with a disappointing performance at Wembley on Saturday. Tuchel’s side are under increasing pressure from Liverpool, who are one point behind them in fifth place, and must respond when they host third-placed Leicester on Tuesday and finish the league season at Aston Villa this Sunday.
“We have enough leaders and this is a strong group who deserved to win the final,” Chelsea’s manager said. “We can absolutely accept that we didn’t win and that we can improve in some moments of the game. But it was enough to win the game and we were simply unlucky.
“If you have a group that arrives in the final, a Champions League final and arrives from ninth place to be in the race for the top four, there’s no reason to doubt that we are not strong enough. We were strong enough to arrive here so I’m pretty sure we are strong enough to handle the situation. Is it easy? No. But that’s the challenge. There is a lot of teams out there who are jealous of our situation.”
Tuchel, who joined Chelsea in January, urged his players not to feel sorry for themselves. “They are quite down but I hope we built a relationship that goes beyond results,” the German said. “We are not happy with our performances even if we win sometimes. We are not happy when we lose. But there are aspects in this game we can absolutely be satisfied with. This is about bouncing back and we will not stop pushing the team. Now we push back in the race for the top four. It’s in our hands.
“We have another two finals. I’m not angry. I won’t be too much into criticism. It’s so hard to accept because you never think about losing a final. But it’s the best thing to play again on Tuesday. We will now figure out who is fit and try to conserve the positive things. I hope the atmosphere isn’t too negative because there is no reason for it.”