Thomas Tuchel is confident that Chelsea will be able to close the gap with Manchester City, which is considered a benchmark towards the European stage alongside Bayern Munich when they meet in the semi -finals of the FA Cup, at midnight tonight.
Tuchel has never beaten a Guardiola -led side since meeting the Catalan tactician five times in charge of Mainz and Borussia Dortmund which ended in two draws against Bayern Munich.
The Blues and City also advanced to the semi-finals of the Champions League (UCL) but with the London club trailing 20 points with the English Premier League (EPL) leaders, Tuchel abides by his team’s standards which are still far from their rivals.
Having often appeared as an ‘underdog’ while in Germany, Tuchel instead thought his club this time around was on par with The Cityzens when they clashed at Wembley, saying in a press conference: “Yes and no. We have to accept there is a gap between us and Manchester City.
“If you’re watching an EPL match and based on the performance of the last few years, we have to swallow the fact. It’s important for us to acknowledge the reality yet without making us too dwarfed.
“Starting the first day of next season, we will hunt them down and try to bridge the gap between us. For me, in this Europe, there are two teams that are benchmarks: Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
“Of course I know what you mean since I didn’t beat them while in Mainz. I think we (he and Guardiola) drew twice under my armpits navigating Dortmund, one ending in the cup final through a penalty shootout and a draw again in own place, so our rivalry was very fierce and it was time we defeated them, the next attempt was tomorrow.
“I can’t believe how big a club is, are we on par or not? We have to admit that there is a gap but for 90 minutes, we were quite aware and very confident that we were really able to close that gap in one game, it was a target for tomorrow and I arrived with a team I was very happy to coach, competing with benchmarks in England and Europe.
“Momentum is not in our favor. If we want to have it, we have to show the highest level of action to force something other than need a little luck.
“If we manage to beat them, it will be a huge boost and if not, we have to accept it and consider it as a challenge and an opportunity to grow because we will definitely have some struggles.
“It’s not just the FA Cup, it’s even about the top four slot races and UCL.”