‘Maybe it was the kick we needed’: Christian Pulisic insists Chelsea are relishing Champions League clash with Real Madrid as they bid to respond to Brentford loss – as he says ‘we’re still going to be confident’
- Christian Pulisic says Chelsea’s loss to Brentford may give them a crucial ‘kick’
- Next up, the Blues face Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals
- But Pulisic, despite their recent setback, says they are relishing the showdown
- Manager Thomas Tuchel is now targeting the perfect response from his players
After the embarrassment of their resounding loss to Brentford on Saturday, you’d imagine the visit of Real Madrid is the last thing Chelsea need right now.
On the contrary, according to Christian Pulisic.
‘I think the game on the weekend was obviously a tough one but maybe it was the kick we needed to get us ready for some really big games coming up,’ said the USA international.
Christian Pulisic says Chelsea’s surprise loss to Brentford may give them ‘the kick we needed’
The Blues lost 4-1 to Brentford at Stamford Bridge at the weekend in a surprising setback
‘I think the guys are definitely going to turn it around and we’re still going to be confident, as we should, going into a game like this.
‘We just want to get out there as soon as possible and try to win a big game.’
There’s logic in Pulisic’s assertions. Firstly, Chelsea – under Thomas Tuchel – have proven themselves a match for any team on the continent. They are the reigning European champions after all.
Pulisic insists his team-mates will be ‘confident’ ahead of their crunch clash with Real Madrid
Secondly, their 3-1 aggregate victory over Real in last year’s Champions League should provide Chelsea’s players with enough encouragement that they can dispose of arguably the most prestigious club in European football for a second successive season.
Not that head coach Tuchel believes for a second that his team have got Real’s number.
‘Last season has nothing to do with this game,’ said the German.
‘We didn’t look at it in our preparations. We looked at their last matches but not last year. There’s not a point to prove or whatever.
Manager Thomas Tuchel waved away claims that Chelsea may already have Madrid’s number
‘We are out to bounce back from Saturday and to play in the right way, the way we want to. To be physical, intense and focussed.
‘It feels terribly hard all the time (to win the Champions League) but that’s what we love, the competition. There’s no other way other than step by step. It’s challenging and demanding at the moment for us. But it’s what we love. We can deal with it.’
‘In terms of experience we should be very aware that teams like this (Real) with this quality can produce special nights on special occasions.
‘It’s also pretty special for us to play Real Madrid in a quarter-final. That’s why we feel excited and we cannot lose too much sleep to think about where they are in Europe.
Tuchel says he is targeting the perfect response from his players after their recent humiliation
‘We want to prove a point to ourselves again. It’s a special opponent and a special occasion.
‘We need to be at our very best. We overcame Real last season but it has nothing to do with this game. It’s a new coach and a new team.’
That new coach is all too familiar to Chelsea, of course. Carlo Ancelotti spent two successful seasons at Stamford Bridge before succumbing to Roman Abramovich’s axe.
Carlo Ancelotti may not be in the dugout for Madrid after testing positive for Covid-19
But there is major doubt over whether the Italian will be in dugout after testing positive for Covid.
Ancelotti hopes to provide a negative test to enable him to travel to London – and Tuchel, who missed part of Chelsea’s Club World Cup triumph for the same reason – added: ‘It does affect the squad but nowadays you are in charge of virtual media so I am pretty sure he can do team talks and stuff.
‘But it’s always much better to be there as a direct influence. What coaches love most is to be in the middle of the group and constantly communicating with words, a smile and a hug.
Ken Griffin (pictured) is travelling to London with the Ricketts to meet Chelsea executives
‘Strange when it’s missing. Hope he still makes it. Told he could be here tomorrow evening. He’s a big personality and would be nice to have him on sidelines in these games.’
Meanwhile, US hedge fund tycoon Ken Griffin is travelling to London with Tom Ricketts and Laura Ricketts to meet with Chelsea executives ahead of Monday’s deadline for the club’s shortlisted parties to make improved offers.
Griffin, who is worth £21billion and is helping to fund the Ricketts Family’s attempts to buy Chelsea, is to hold talks with Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck and directors Marina Granovskaia and Eugene Tenebaum in the coming days.
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