Thomas Tuchel has revealed Manchester United inflicted the worst defeat of his managerial career.
Tuchel admitted he was left in a “dark place” and could not even speak to anyone after his former club Paris Saint Germain lost to United in the Champions League knock-out stages in March, 2019 after Marcus Rashford’s 94th minute penalty.
Blues boss Tuchel faces United again on Sunday at Stamford Bridge in what he describes as a “huge” game for Chelsea as they try to hunt down Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team in the battle for top four.
Tuchel said: “I didn’t experience anything like this ever again or before. I can be very honest after that match I was two days in a very dark place and I can tell you I was not able to speak to anybody and to think about anything else than this defeat.
“It was in the circumstances, this game, how we arrived there, the pressure around the club concerning the round of 16, the history before and the result of the first match and the way the second match went with the VAR decision in the last minute.
“After that, it’s like this in sports, it can teach you that you have to stand up and accept that a defeat is sometimes necessary to grow and develop and to ask yourself decisive questions.
“That can hurt and the reward was one year later, it was almost the perfect reward when we arrived in the final and we came a long way for that. It was through adversity and it’s often said that it makes you stronger.
“We all know that defeats are hard to digest. Also for me. Am I a good loser? So, so. Maybe not so much, but show me a good loser on this level and winning drives us. Winning drives this club and winning drives this dressing room.
“But I love to turn it around. We love the competition and we love to win and we love a good fight for it and this is what we will hopefully get on Sunday.”
Tuchel – who lost and won when PSG played United again earlier this season – also sees United as a huge test for his evolving Chelsea team as they try to close the gap in the battle for a top four place.
“The implications are huge. If we get a win out of this game, it is huge for us and if they get a win, it is huge for them to increase the difference between us. Let’s see,” said Tuchel.
“It’s not out of reach, there are still many, many games to play but it can be a huge step and we don’t have to talk around – if you lose against a direct opponent that we are hunting in the moment with six points ahead of us, you absolutely don’t want to lose.”
Tuchel also admitted he wants to be “expressive” with his players in training – even if sometimes he struggles to hide his emotions. Tuchel added: “It can be very positive – but they also see my anger sometimes!
“But in general, I can only be me because there’s no right or wrong in coaching, there’s only the belief and the strength to do it your way. This is me to be expressive, to be direct and to make them feel instantly what I like and what I don’t like.”