July 24, 2022
Thomas Tuchel: Arsenal, Spurs and Man Utd had ‘a huge advantage’ over Chelsea

“Personally, I wasn’t happy that Tottenham got out of the (Europa) Conference League,” Tuchel said. “Because I thought ‘wow, I know what Antonio Conte can do with teams when they’re focused, when he can train them physically’. I thought, ‘this will be a huge improvement for them in the game. domestic competition’ And the same for Arsenal when they came out of the Cup, I thought ‘this will be a huge boost for them’ because they have a very young and talented team, to train them, to concentrate on a single competition’.

When asked whether or not Arsenal, Tottenham and United had an advantage in the Premier League by playing fewer games in Europe and cup competitions than Chelsea, Tuchel replied: “They had an advantage, I think. A huge plus, of course.

“But it always depends on how you feel about your situation. We can use it as an excuse, they can use it too. You use the situation as you wish. You can use it to feel very tired and we are feeling the challenge right now, mentally and physically. You can already have a half-apology ready if things go wrong, or we can just accept it and accept the challenge, and go from there.

“That (fewer games) can be an advantage, but it can also be a disadvantage if, like Manchester United, you underperform, if you have no more cups, if you are absent from European competitions too soon for this that you demand of yourself. It can limit your mind, it can have an effect on the atmosphere.

“It’s very, very different if you’re building a team for 65 games and suddenly you only have 40, and you have whole weeks to prepare for games, that can be heavy on your shoulders too. It can be heavier than your heavy legs from playing all the time, so I understand that on paper it might seem like an advantage, but the atmosphere you build by underperforming against your own demands, you can feel heavy on your shoulders.

Tuchel, however, made it clear where he thought any sympathy should lie in terms of the schedules Chelsea and Arsenal faced, following Arteta’s complaint.

“He must have his reasons and maybe he felt that way, but compared to us it can’t be a matter of minutes or what day you play,” Tuchel said.

As well as having played far more games than Arsenal ahead of Wednesday night’s game, Tuchel’s side won’t have a full Stamford Bridge behind them for the London derby.

This will be the first game where the home support will consist solely of season ticket holders due to the operating license imposed on Chelsea following the sanctions imposed on Roman Abramovich.

This means there will be large sections of empty seats and Tuchel said: “It’s not an advantage. We want to play home games in front of a full stadium. The game is for spectators and supporters, so that’s bad news actually. I was not aware of it. Maybe someone told me and I forgot, it’s possible. But let’s reverse things on that.

“Maybe everyone (the supporters) are aware of this and push a bit more because we lack quantity, but we must not lack quality of support. I can only remind everyone of the game against Leicester last season during the Covid situation – it was the first time spectators were allowed at the Bridge There were around 15,000 and all the players said it was like a full stadium Hopefully we can be the spark to bring everyone into this kind of atmosphere to give a little more than normal.

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