Thomas Tuchel believes Chelsea are hugely disadvantaged in their quest to overturn the two-goal deficit in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League Quarter Finals tie because Real Madrid have been able to make five substitutions all season.
Chelsea’s status as European Champion is under threat after suffering a 3 – 1 defeat at Stamford Bridge last season and must pull off a historic comeback if they are to remain in the competition.
A Karim Benzema hat-trick was all the 13-time Champions needed to get the better of Chelsea, with Kai Havertz getting Chelsea’s only goal.
Tuchel is not very confident of his team’s chances of progressing, and insists he expected a more physical performance in the first leg.
“First of all, we wanted it more physical but we did not work hard or intense enough in the first match,” he said.
“Second of all. We face a huge disadvantage in terms of physicality because Real Madrid has a whole year with five changes and we play the most demanding league, we play the most matches throughout the season and throughout 2022 so it is not always easy to play a physical game.
“We are a team that needs the physicality, the sharpness, the commitment and the investment to be a special team. And we could not implement that enough in the last match.
“This was also due to their quality, their capacity to slow the game down, to control the match by ball possession.”
“It is one of the biggest challenges to perform away at the Bernabeu,” he added.
“And it is even more difficult if you have to earn a certain result, if you need to win with a minimum of two goals or better or maybe a three goal difference, that makes it almost impossible and very, very difficult but still it is worth trying.
“We need nothing else than a fantastic script that we want to be able to overcome this.
“The task is incredibly high and the challenge is incredibly high given the circumstances of the first leg. And where we play and against whom we play and at what stage we play this kind of match.
“It’s always allowed to dream and it is sometimes important to imagine things and to dream about it. But it will not shift the focus from the fact that we need to deliver. We need to be ready tomorrow.
“We will arrive and try everything because it’s worth trying. And from there we see and hopefully we have a match where belief grows within the match by our actions. And hopefully we can fulfil our dream, live up to our dream.
“But realistically, we have to invest a lot and be at our very top level.”