The Blues head coach faced the media on Tuesday afternoon ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League second leg against the La Liga leaders
What kind of game are you expecting tomorrow?
For me I expect more or less the same like in Bucharest, they have Trippier, Jimenez and Carrasco back, that changes a little the structure and style of attacking.
It gives them the freedom to attack with Carrasco and Trippier on the side. Llorente is available on the half positions, so that changes their approach a little.
But in general I expect more or less the same. A team which is hard to play against, hard to find spaces behind the lines, and behind the last lines, and for sure super hard to create chances.
It’s a big challenge for us like in the first leg, but we played an amazing match there and we want to repeat the same performance to be able to go through.
We know how hard it is to beat Atletico but this is our plan.
Your defenders are playing well but what about the contract situations of Rudiger, Christensen and Silva?
Of course we know, everybody knows about the situation of those three players. All three players performed on a super high level, very reliable, this is the most important thing.
We’ll take the decisions, then communicate them when taken. This is not a secret and it’s obvious that all three have performed outstanding. Thiago is missing now for many weeks unfortunately, which is too long, because we miss him.
But Andreas and Toni have done a fantastic job so far, and we have to keep on going like this and the rest will be resolved.
Were you surprised at how defensive Atletico was in the first leg?
Well I believe that every club has its DNA and characteristics, it’s Diego Simeone, and Atletico became one of the toughest teams to beat in Europe.
So this is their characteristic, they rely on a disciplined, hard-working, super organised defence. At the same time they have incredible quality to attack and to play also possession game.
For me it’s a very complete squad and you have to be aware of everything. They are able to press high, defend low, play for possession. But in most of the games they rely on a hard-working defence, so this is the characteristic of the club, the characteristic of the coach.
I don’t think the result from 1-0 changes too much in the approach at the beginning of the game. Both teams have to adapt to the questions that are asked, and we know it can change within seconds.
In football, one goal can change everything, one decision from the referee, a bit of luck or no luck can change the whole momentum and we need to be aware of everything, and we need to be very, very focused, very concentrated on us and still be ready to adapt to those situations.
Conscious of getting silverware? Beating Atletico MAdrid prove to you that Chelsea can win the competition?
Every team that plays a second leg in the round of 16 can dare to win the competition, there is no doubt about it.
Every team in the last 16 can win the competition, this has been proven in the last years and this is how we respect the competition, it is what we are in for, to win this game. It does not help to think more than this one game.
If I am aware of bringing silverware, of course. I am here to win games,push the team and to ride the momentum that the players are, we are competing as a team and if we can win consecutive games, this is my job. You are never totally safe as a coach, this is a given, I won silverware in France and it came to an end so I can’t lose my head about this.
I just repeat that for me, myself, I feel very happy here and grateful to be part of this club. It feels very natural to be here and that is a big part of the things, I like how the team plays, the more we compete together and this is what we will do.
We are playing every three days, winning games consecutively. I am here to get my job done, the players to get theirs done, get them in the right mindset, flow and momentum and I am looking forward to the decisions. Hopefully it can continue like this.
Injury news and two suspensions, Mount and Jorginho scored six, is it a worry for tomorrow?
A little bit, of course. They are two key players for us, especially Mason for his offensive skills and his power offensive wise to break the lines with dribbles and shots but it is a small line between implementation and excuse.
They are important players so far but we have a group with which we compete so now is the challenge to adapt and find solutions, a way to play without the two guys.
We also need to play without Thiago Silva and Tammy [Abraham], there are no more injuries.
So we miss four players that makes selection easy as we will choose 23 players and we will use our whole squad, five substitutes during the match and we have a clear idea of what we want to do and how we want to create chances.
We are very aware Atletico give away fewest chances in Europe, it is very likely that we have to be patient, with intensity at the same time and keep this level constantly going, that is key for tomorrow.
Strikers could score more if you didn’t rotate a lot?
Yes, maybe. Maybe. Then it is clearly my fault and I take this responsibility for changing.
At the same time, if we put the goalkeeper in goal, we expect him to perform in that match. If we put the defensive line up, then we expect the line up to have a clean sheet and not just one in every three matches.
If you arrive at elite level football at the highest level then there is no time to perform. The time simply doesn’t exist. You are simply in a competition with other players in your team on a friendly and respectful basis but there is no time to get four or five matches in a row to score regularly.
That simply does not exist and this is not a secret. This is a given. We try to put them in a good mindset. We are pushing them and they are working hard against the ball with the whole team so this is also a point. We did some changes because we needed to adapt. The results are not crazily bad so that we should ask ourselves that we are doing everything wrong also.
We have created enough touches in the box, we create enough chances and half chances to win games. We had by far enough chances, touches in the box and deliveries against Leeds to win this game comfortably with two goals. This is no problem but we need to be more precise and focus better on our decision making, the technique, how to finish and these are the points that we work on. Our strikers are very aware of that and they have the highest demands of themselves.
We are not pointing fingers to make this clear. At Cobham, we blame nobody for nothing but we speak about the points very clearly. Where we are good and what we can improve on and we can clearly improve on our finishing. what we can improve on and we can clearly improve on our finishing.
Advantage to play at home when others have had to play their “home” games away? And are you favourites for the title?
Even if I could answer that question then what would it change for tomorrow, nothing. For me, it is not a question. It is okay to ask it but no way will I answer it. I can only think of tomorrow to play this game.
We have big respect because we play the leaders of Spain. We did an outstanding job in Bucharest and have the advantage with a home game at Stamford Bridge which makes us very confident because we don’t have to travel.
The set up is the usual set up. This is good for us. We feel good to be in our hotel and have the same schedule as in normal games. This is very, very good. We want to have this decisive percentage for tomorrow that is on our side [to play at home].
I am sure that we need another top performance to be very focused and concentrated. At the same time, we have to play a very high intensity match because we are used to playing in high intensity matches.
We want to be hungry to score. At the same time, we need to enjoy this competition and to do what’s needed to win a big match like this.
For that, you have to play with hunger, aggressively and at a very high level as a team. This is the target for tomorrow. What happens in the tournament and competition is out of our hands. We will do what we can influence and this is the game tomorrow.
Keep reading that Timo Werner is unhappy at Chelsea…
Stop reading, stop reading, what do you read? Read a book. There is no book about Timo Werner. So read a book.