“Not bad not bad”. Was Tuchel’s calm response when asked what a world champion is like during Friday’s pre-match press conference.
The Chelsea manager had his arms folded and allowed himself a short burst of laughter, but it didn’t take long for his mind to snap back to the reality of a 16-point gap with Manchester City.
“We must not be wrong in terms of winning the Premier League. We must realize that we are currently in the race for the top four, which is huge in the Premier League in general.
“We are not going to start judging competitions. The most important thing is tomorrow against Crystal Palace. After that we change because we are in many competitions.”
Chelsea enjoyed the world championship title for the very first time last weekend, but the experience of sitting far behind Pep Guardiola’s men is very familiar.
A gap which since the 2017/18 season, when Guardiola won his first title with the Citizens, has since grown to almost 30 points, actually reaching that total when 2019/20 champions Liverpool lifted the trophy.
The 19-point gap at the end of last season was a small step in the right direction, however, the fear of a repeat this term would be psychologically damaging given the expectation of a title race in the summer. last.
Although Guardiola was quick to call Chelsea the best team in the world before the Blues won the FIFA competition, a more recent quote, when asked who was seriously threatening Man City’s current lead, was more revealing.
“Liverpool. They have been our biggest rivals in recent seasons, they are still there.
“They’re boring all the time. They’re a fantastic team.”
Chelsea fans can’t be too discouraged by these comments. The current Premier League table tells you as much. Jurgen Klopp’s Reds now have a seven-point gap over Chelsea after winning their last four league games.
City and Liverpool were the two outstanding teams, breaking new points records and showing levels of consistency that broke new ground in the Premier League.
The reason Pep cites Liverpool is due to their recent experience of going deep in title races, proving capable of reaching over 80 points, which Chelsea have not done since our last title win in 2017. .
The Club World Cup win was truly historic for Chelsea. It was the last piece of major silverware to be acquired and completed the incredible Champions League win over City last May, adding the UEFA Super Cup secured at the start of this season.
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As Tuchel rightly pointed out in his comments ahead of Chelsea’s return to the league against Crystal Palace, the reality facing his side is the battle to retain a top four spot, which they are only too familiar.
The first step for Chelsea is to create a gap with Manchester United, West Ham, Arsenal and Spurs, all of whom showed their own frailties while Chelsea were in Abu Dhabi.
Once Champions League qualification can be considered secure, it’s all about making sure the gap to Guardiola can be closed ahead of next season.
Chelsea haven’t done enough in the Premier League to show they can be a threat in 38 games against Man City. Rather than being bitter by Guardiola’s comments, it should motivate the whole club to prove him wrong in the future under Tuchel.
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