Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel hits back at Pep Guardiola ahead of Man City showdown

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has responded to Pep Guardiola’s comments about the Champions League final ahead of Saturday’s mouthwatering Premier League match with Manchester City. Guardiola ruffled a few feathers ahead of the rematch by claiming that Chelsea’s victory in May was built upon a mastery of long balls.

The Blues beat Man City 1-0 in the Champions League final in Porto thanks to Kai Havertz’s goal just before half-time.

It was the third time in just a few months that Tuchel had gotten the better of Guardiola, following Chelsea wins in the FA Cup semi-final and the Premier League.

Ahead of Saturday’s 12.30pm kick-off at Stamford Bridge, Guardiola was asked to give his assessment of the showpiece match.

“I had the feeling in the game and when I saw it again, that we played with a lot of courage [and] with personality,” he said.

“But, unfortunately, we could not do it as with the counter-attacks, long balls, second balls they were much better than us they beat us.”

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“It is about suffering, it is about defending, it is about never becoming too passive. It’s about everything because it’s a huge, huge challenge.

“They put you under so much pressure and they have so much belief in what they do. Pep’s teams bring out the very best in you.”

Tuchel’s 3-4-2-1 formation was successful in shutting down Man City in Porto, while the use of long passes out to the wing-backs was an obvious feature of his approach.

The German manager failed to beat Guardiola’s Bayern Munich side in any of his first five matches against him when he was managing Mainz and Borussia Dortmund.

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But he turned things around dramatically in 2021, winning all three meetings between Chelsea and Manchester City, prompting questions over their personal rivalry.

Asked whether he was a better coach than Guardiola, Tuchel said: “This question does not even exist for me and I can’t answer it.

“It’s a question for you guys and you can endlessly debate.

“I am a huge admirer for the impact he had from his first day of his professional coaching – the impact at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. He has my biggest respect.

“There is no reason to ask myself if I am a better coach. I do the best I can, I am in a place I am very happy, and I am a better coach today than yesterday.”


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