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Thomas Tuchel: “It’s not about what we play, or what Real Madrid plays — it’s about how we play it”

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The Chelsea manager spoke to the press ahead of tomorrow’s big game against Real Madrid.

Chelsea Training and Press Conference Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel spoke to the media today in the pre-game press conference for tomorrow’s Chelsea vs Real Madrid game at Stamford Bridge.

Our own Kiyan Sobhani asked Tuchel if he expects a more open game than the first leg, or if he expects a similar tactical battle. Tuchel gave a relatively lengthy answer to this question.

Tuchel’s response

“I’m not sure if they’ll play in a 5-3-2 again, or switch to their more familiar 4-3-3. That depends on their last tests for Ramos and Mendy today. Based on their decision with the formation, of course, things change, because every formation has its strengths and weaknesses.

In the end, in a semi-final of the Champions League, I believe that it’s not about the formation. It’s not about what we play, or what Real Madrid plays — it’s about how we play it. ‘How’ means, what belief do we have? What intensity do we have? Are we brave enough? Are we playing courageous enough? Are we playing at a top level with our formation?”

So, there’s always a tactical choice, but for me, in these big games, it’s about the little decisions, the individual tactical behaviours, the tactical behaviour within groups. Can we isolate Real Madrid in a 2v2? In a 3v2 situation? How do we solve those situations? Can we avoid being isolated?

Like I said, it’s more about how we play than what we play, and it’s the same for Real Madrid. We won’t know exactly what formation they will use. We will focus fully on us, and on our performance.”

Tuchel also clarified that Mateo Kovacic, again, is the only player missing from the Chelsea squad due to injury. He also stated, with some humour, that he would not reveal anything more about his lineup.