LONDON — This season is all about a top four finish for Chelsea, but Thomas Tuchel wants much more.
And Chelsea, under him, look like they can do much more.
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UEFA Champions League qualification would be a big achievement for Tuchel this season, considering where Chelsea was at when he arrived in January.
Tuchel now has Chelsea in the Champions League semifinals, FA Cup final and only Manchester City have picked up more points than Chelsea in the PL since his first game in charge.
That is quite the start for the German tactician, who has lost just one of his first 14 PL games in charge.
Asked by ProSoccerTalk after their narrow, but dominant, win at West Ham if this late season surge is all about setting the foundations for a title push next season, here is what Tuchel said.
“All of these performances are the new benchmark for us and we are our own benchmark,” Tuchel said. “When we do it for now, we want to do it on Tuesday [against Real Madrid] again, and if we do it on Tuesday again we want to do it on Saturday. This is how we approach our team and you approach on high level sports.
“You cannot be distracted by too many visions and too many goals that are too far away, but yes, I am very happy with the consistency of quality. I am very happy with the level we can deliver every three days. With our courage and it is always a team effort and it is on a very, very high level we can produce consistently.
“This what we demand, in all different settings. Whether it be FA Cup or Champions League, we demand the same, full focus and reach your own highest level and play on that level. This won’t change for next season. Whatever we say the target is, the target will then and absolutely be 100% to win the first match when the first match arrives and this will even start in preseason.
“We will not allow anyone to drop even one percent even in friendly matches because when you sign up for Chelsea you sign up for the highest competitions and you sign up for winning,” Tuchel added.
Top four, FA Cup and Champions League hopes
Tuchel now has a chance to win two trophies and finish in the top four in his first six months as Chelsea boss.
Make no mistake, that would be epic, but it seems like he has much bigger plans. And we aren’t talking about the Super League (thank goodness) here.
Chelsea have recorded 16 shutouts in 21 games since Tuchel arrived, are so tough to beat and have matchwinners galore who are nowhere near their top level. That is scary.
The potential for this Chelsea team is huge and Tuchel is getting the most out of them in a structured manner and they all look hungry.
Tuchel is apoplectic with rage on the sidelines when his team makes simple mistakes and that intensity and attention to detail has seeped into his players. At the start of the second half he didn’t like what he saw and his anger was clear to his team, who kicked it on.
He has provided substance to this stylish side which previously lacked solidity.
This is only the start for this young team which has a perfect mix of youth and experience.
Make no mistake, the rest of the Premier League are very, very worried about the prospect of Tuchel having a full preseason to push Chelsea on further next season.