Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

15.36 16 Apr 2021


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Thomas Tuchel says he's determined to see his Chelsea side become the equals of Manchester City. 

The sides meet on Saturday evening in the first of the weekend's FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley. Chelsea and City also comprise 50 per cent of the UEFA Champions League semi-final line-up.

They've traded victories in the Premier League this season, but City have had the better of recent meetings - winning seven of the last nine.

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Tuchel concedes Chelsea are slight underdogs for the FA Cup semi-final, but is focused on ensuring that's not the case for long.

"If you look at the results in the Premier League and the fixtures in the last years we have to accept this," the German said, "And it's important that we accept this without making ourselves too small.

"So from next year on, from day one of next season, we will hunt them, try to close the gap between us. And this the benchmark.

"For me in Europe there are two teams who are the benchmark, there is Bayern Munich and Manchester City. But of course, he [Guardiola] made it impossible for us to compete with Mainz.

"I think we had two draws with Dortmund and then a cup final in a penalty loss, and another draw at home with Dortmund. We came close. It's time that we beat them, and the next try is tomorrow.

"I don't believe in how big clubs are, how tough or are we equal or not. We have to admit there is a gap but for 90 minutes we are very self-aware and very self-confident that we believe we can close the gap for one game. And this is the target for tomorrow.

"I arrive with a team that I am happy to compete with against the benchmark in England and Europe. We want the momentum of football on our side, and to play at the top level it's not to force things, and we'll need a bit of luck."

N'Golo Kanté has been passed fit for Saturday's game at Wembley, but Mateo Kovacic and Andreas Christensen are both ruled out.

Tuchel has never managed a victory over Guardiola so far, but says the Catalan is a huge influence on his career.

"Huge influence because when he was coach of Barcelona, I was watching almost every game," Tuchel said, "I was very impressed by the way they made success happen with the style they were playing: the academy guys, offensive football, ball possession.

"The most impressive thing about the team was the mentality of how they defended when they lost the ball.

"I learned a lot from watching the games and understanding more of the game; how adventurous and brave you can approach games.

"So it was a big, big lesson. At this time I was a coach at the academy and then became a coach at Mainz. Almost every game was a lesson in these days and then later we had the opportunity to play against him.

"It wasn't always a pleasure but then you arrive at a certain level and it was a pleasure to meet him and play against him at the highest level."

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Chelsea Fa Cup Man City Manchester City Pep Guardiola Premier League Thomas Tuchel

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