Sport What must Tuchel do to ensure his stunning Chelsea start doesn't flop?
Tuchel wants Chelsea players to be brave and go for the kill against Real Madrid
Chelsea held Real Madrid 1-1 in their Champions League semi-final first leg but Thomas Tuchel has told his players to forget that result.Christian Pulisic scored a crucial goal for Chelsea in last week's Champions League semi-final first leg before Karim Benzema levelled up the tie at 1-1 through Madrid's only shot on target.
After an electrifying few weeks at Stamford Bridge, Thomas Tuchel andwere given a reality check on Wednesday night when they lost to rivals .
Emile Smith Rowe's 16th-minute strike was the difference and leaves the back door open for Liverpool and even West Ham to make one final push to sneak into the top four.
Chelsea have two cup finals and two tricky Premier League matches against Leicester andto navigate between now and the end of the season, so what does Tuchel need to keep in mind to ensure his fantastic start to life in England doesn't spectacularly flop? Sportsmail takes a look.
Tuchel's selection headache against Real Madrid
Chelsea's flexibility in attack could be described as both Tuchel's friend and foe at the moment. Plenty of options, plenty of combinations but most of them nowhere near a 100 per cent guaranteed pick. Let's start with Werner. It seems remarkable the £53million striker could finish his first season at Chelsea with Champions League and FA Cup winners' medals given all the criticism that has come his way.
KEEP KANTE FIT
The France midfielder was a notable omission from Chelsea's line-up on Wednesday night and when he doesn't play, Tuchel's men are weaker.
The Chelsea boss revealed after the game that the 30-year-old has some discomfort in his achilles and he needs time to rest between Chelsea's matches. With the FA Cup final against Leicester on Saturday at Wembley, Tuchel opted to leave the midfielder out.
Speaking to the 5th Stand app, Tuchel explained: 'N’Golo (was left out) for pain management. He has pain in the achilles and he suffers from that.
'There was no chance (he could play) because we miss (Mateo) Kovacic (too).'
Next Tuesday, just three days after the cup final, Chelsea meet Leicester again in the Premier League in what looks set to be a crucial game for the shape of the top four. Can Kante manage two games in four days? It might seem wise not to risk him with a Champions League final on the horizon.
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Ben Chilwell, who joined the Blues for £50million in August, has emerged as Thomas Tuchel's first choice left back with Alonso and Emerson finding themselves on the sidelines.Ben Chilwell, who joined the Blues for £50million in August, has emerged as Thomas Tuchel's first choice left back with Alonso and Emerson finding themselves on the sidelines for the bigger games.
CHELSEA'S FOUR 'FINALS'
Sat 15 May - Chelsea vs Leicester, FA Cup final
Tue 18 May - Chelsea vs Leicester, Premier League
Sun 23 May - Aston Villa vs Chelsea, Premier League
Sat 29 May - Manchester City vs Chelsea, Champions League final
WERNER IS KEY
The £53million man was another player left out of the clash against Arsenal on Wednesday as Tuchel kept half an eye on the cup final. And while Werner has had his critics this season, Chelsea missed him.
His pace going forward is a vital outlet for Chelsea, especially when looking to spring on the counter attack and his runs have always been smart, even when he has been enduring a barren run in front of goal.
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And in recent weeks there have been signs his confidence in the final third is coming back. After scoring just two goals in 35 games for both Chelsea and Germany, Werner has scored twice in his last five. One was his header from pin-point range against Real Madrid and the other came in the crucial 1-0 win against top-four rivals West Ham.
Man City can lay down a Champions League marker by beating Chelsea
Pep Guardiola and his abundance of riches at Manchester City are faced with a very welcome headache this weekend. One final push and the title, as well as the mental boost, will be theirs.It is only a matter of time, that's a fact. Their 13 point gap over neighbours Manchester United may as well be a steep mountain, and the champagne, as Guardiola has openly admitted, is already on ice.
Tuchel is a big fan of Werner's work-rate off the ball as well. He described the striker's efforts in the 2-1 win at City last week by saying 'he was working like a dog'.
BRING BACK RUDIGER
The Germany defender has been a central part of Tuchel's revolution at Chelsea and while he had made his first-team return before Frank Lampard was sacked, it is mystifying that Lampard ever tried to get rid of him.
He was another player who was rested on Wednesday against Arsenal, which is perhaps another reflection of how highly Tuchel rates him.
His work in the three-man Chelsea defence has been one of the more noticeable changes Tuchel has overseen and while the German coach decided to rest him up ahead of a bumper few fixtures to round off the season, he now needs Rudiger ready and firing to ensure the campaign ends successfully.
STICK WITH HAVERTZ
Like Werner, Kai Havertz hasn't hit the heights expected of him when he arrived at Stamford Bridge last summer. But steadily as the season has gone on he has adapted to Tuchel's methods and is getting better.
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The Blues are gearing up for a massive three weeks before the season comes to a close, taking on Leicester in the FA Cup final this weekend before facing Man City in the Champions League final.The Blues are gearing up for a massive three weeks before the season comes to a close, taking on Leicester in the FA Cup final this weekend before facing Manchester City in the Champions League final on May 29.
It felt like a controversial decision for Tuchel to leave Christian Pulisic on the bench for the Champions League semi-final second leg against Madrid but Havertz started in his place and played well, hitting the bar twice with the first effort coming back into the path of Werner to score.
He made more of an impact than Pulisic against Arsenal, despite being taken off by Tuchel for Olivier Giroud on 65 minutes. That could have been to save Havertz's legs as well as he has played a lot in the last few weeks.
HUDSON-ODOI MUST MAKE AN IMPACT
Callum Hudson-Odoi was one of the first plus-points in the early days of Tuchel taking over at Chelsea, with the 20-year-old being deployed as a wing-back.
But in the last few weeks he has featured little for Chelsea and due to the team's success on the pitch it's not unfair to say that he hasn't been missed. But he came on against Manchester City last weekend and had a hand in their winning goal, scored by Marcos Alonso.
Tuchel said that the England international needs to push himself more.
'Callum needs to understand how to use his potential,’ he said. ‘He needs to understand how to push himself to the absolute limit, and not be happy with 80, 85, 90, 95 per cent.
'He simply cannot be happy with that in any single day. He needs to learn and understand that and live up to that. Once he does this, he will make his way and leave his footprints.’
With two finals and a place in the top four to seal, there can be no better time for Hudson-Odoi to show his manager that he has heeded his advice.
Tammy Abraham has reached the point of no return at Chelsea .
This situation would have been unimaginable six months ago. Abraham was playing regularly under Frank Lampard, scoring 11 goals prior to the manager's sacking in January.It will be wrench, of course. He has been a Blue since the age of seven, emerging from their academy to wear the club’s coveted No 9 shirt. But he cannot suffer another season like this.