Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has admitted his side must overperform in order to catch Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
The Blues currently find themselves ten points behind the Premier League champions after a poor run of from Tuchel’s side in December saw Pep Guardiola’s men become huge favourites in the title race.
Chelsea travel to City on Saturday afternoon as they look to cut into their lead.
Tuchel was asked if he thought City were to best team in Europe, to which he replied: “We were self-confident enough to say we will try to close the gap to Man City from the first day of the season.
“Don’t get me wrong, I will be completely happy with the players we have on the pitch tomorrow. We will push them in the same way with genuine belief.
“But the team is different with everyone available. Always you have injuries or minor injuries, but having a full squad gives you the extra edge you need to be on the level Man City is. But we haven’t had that. It’s just an explanation of the situation.”
Tuchel was then asked if his side had closed the gap to City this season.
“We have to prove to ourselves we have to step up and close the gap day in, day out. We have trust in what we do, trust in our players, trust in the mentality of our club that we can do it. We have a strong squad, belief in what we do, so we will be there.
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“The situation is very particular in what we are trying to do. I have talked many times about the reasons but it describes the situation and it is an explanation that we can’t just look away from.”
The German manager then added what his side need to do to get closer to Guardiola’s side.
“With every player we get back, we get back belief, experience and alternatives. We have N’Golo on the bench in the last match, Thiago Silva on the bench, but they joined the group with one training session.
“We have a good squad with a fantastic mentality and once you have one training session you’re in the squad. But we are not at our 100%. We need to overperform to catch Man City and be at the top of the Premier League and to do that you need everybody. So we are hoping to get players back.
“But when you get the news that Andreas [Christensen] has Covid after he comes back from injury and play so strong, it’s a setback for everyone mentally because you get a player back and then it’s no. It’s like catching a fish.”
Ahead of their clash on Saturday, Tuchel admitted the title race could possibly be over if they lose.
“Maybe, who knows.
“The biggest difference so far this season as far as I’m concerned is that they have dealt better with injuries and they dealt better with the Covid situation.
“Maybe it’s unlucky, maybe they do it better or whatever but they have less injuries from key players.
“They did not suffer from Covid as we did so this is the huge difference. We had some draws that were unnecessary and if you have your full squad you create an uncertain atmosphere for everybody and that pushes everybody to the edge.
“You need to be on the edge if you want to compete with Man City, they are the benchmark and the best team in England right now.”
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