Tuchel bullish, talks up Chelsea’s chances of Champions League glory

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Thomas Tuchel is bullish about Chelsea winning the UEFA Champions League and taking down Manchester City in the final.

Like, very bullish. “We will arrive in Istanbul to win, not to be a participant.”

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Tuchel has done an amazing job at Chelsea since he replaced Frank Lampard in January and has led the Blues to the FA Cup final, a comfy spot inside the Premier League top four and now the Champions League final as they beat Real Madrid.

Speaking about the prospect of facing Man City in Istanbul (they also play Manchester City this Saturday, live on NBC at 12:30pm ET and online via NBCSports.com), Tuchel is confident his young side can beat Pep Guardiola’s all-stars.

“This doesn’t give us the upper hand but it gives us a good feeling, it gives us self-confidence,” said Tuchel when asked about beating Man City in a recent FA Cup semifinal. “We wanted to close the gap to Manchester City and in this one match in the semifinal we did in a very impressive performance, and we will need exactly the same level of performance again. But it gave us belief. We will arrive with self-confidence and a positive energy in Istanbul and hopefully with no injured players, and we will arrive there with a clear focus to win.”

Who are the favorites to win the Champions League final?

There is no doubt that Manchester City are the overwhelming favorites to beat Chelsea in the final, but this will be a lot closer than most people think.

An understrength Man City lost 1-0 to Chelsea in the FA Cup semifinal at Wembley in April and Tuchel knows Guardiola extremely well from his time in German soccer and is a huge fan of his work. That gives him an advantage too.

If both Chelsea and Man City are at full strength, you have to give City the edge. But since Tuchel arrived in January, only Man City have picked up more points in the Premier League than his Chelsea side so this really is the top two teams in the Premier League battling it out for Champions League glory.

Given Chelsea’s amazing defensive record since Tuchel arrived, they are surely the one team who can stop Kevin de Bruyne and Co. from ticking in the final third.

Manchester City have been smoking hot ever since November, but Chelsea are red-hot right now and Tuchel is right to be bullish about their chances of causing an upset in Istanbul.