Tuchel calls for care
Real Madrid will play Chelsea in midweek, in a Champions League semi-final.
Historically, the Blues have an excellent record against Los Blancos, having never lost against them in a competitive meeting.
They won in the 1998 UEFA Super Cup – the last time the pair met competitively, prior to which the sides faced off in the 1971 Cup Winner’s Cup, and Chelsea won 2-1 and drew 1-1.
Thomas Tuchel suggested that his side will need to be very careful, as they recover from an important 1-0 win against West Ham.
“Today we played at a high, high level against a strong opponent. It was a good response,” said Tuchel.
Chelsea’s German head coach Thomas Tuchel gestures during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on March 4, 2021. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP)
“We only have two days to recover. We need to be very careful now in the recovery process.”
The German coach will also be delighted that compatriot Timo Werner got on the scoresheet on Saturday, and raised his confidence ahead of the semi-final.
Zidane leaves clues
Meanwhile, Real Madrid prepared for the clash in the worst possible way, after dropping points against Real Betis in the chase for the La Liga title.
Neither side was able to record a goal in the match, and it was clear from Zidane’s team selection that he had the game against Chelsea in mind, despite the desperate need for points in the title race.
Atletico Madrid now have the opportunity to go 5 points ahead of their city rivals, whilst Barcelona will too go above their fierce historic opponents should they win their two games in hand.
Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, though, believe that a number of selections from Saturday hint towards Los Blancos’ XI for midweek.
Nacho Fernandez played on the left of a back four, as Ferland Mendy was kept in reserve before he plays a more advanced role on the left-hand side.
MADRID, SPAIN – APRIL 06: Ferland Mendy of Real Madrid competes for the ball with Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool FC during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final match between Real Madrid and Liverpool FC at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on April 06, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Vinicius Junior, scorer against Liverpool, was also rested, with Marco Asensio and Rodrygo having played in the wide areas to little effect against the Seville-based club.
Toni Kroos, who has not been available for the last 3 matches, will be desperately needed back by Zidane to help control the midfield battle.
Whoever starts, Tuesday’s clash is set up to be a huge one in Europe’s elite competition, between two of the clubs who tried to leave it for the Super League.