Thomas Tuchel: Inability to use five subs has hurt Chelsea in Champions League

Thomas Tuchel believes Chelsea face a “huge handicap” in overturning their Champions League deficit to Real Madrid, as the Spanish side have been able to make five substitutions throughout the season.

Chelsea’s reign as European champions appears to be coming to an end as they head to the Spanish capital needing to reverse a 3-1 quarter-final first leg loss to the 13-time winners at Stamford Bridge last week. pass.

Tuchel said he wanted to see more physicality from his players in the defeat, in which Karim Benzema’s hat-trick put Real on course for the last four.

But he believes the decision to allow Premier League teams to only make three substitutions, rather than five in LaLiga and other major European leagues, could have a detrimental effect on an already gargantuan task.

Karim Benzema scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid won 3-1 in west London last week.

Karim Benzema scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid won 3-1 in west London last week. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

“First of all, we wanted it more physical, but we didn’t work hard enough or intense enough in the first match,” he said.

“Secondly, we face a huge disadvantage in terms of physicality because Real Madrid has a full year with five changes and we play the most demanding league, we played the most games throughout the season and throughout 2022, so It’s not always easy to play a physical game.

“We are a team that needs the physicality, the sharpness, the commitment and the investment to be a special team. We couldn’t implement that enough in the last game.

“This was also due to his quality, his ability to slow down the game, to control the game with possession of the ball.”

The Premier League has recently announced that five substitutions will be allowed from next season, something that was initially put in place following the return to action following delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, it comes too late to make a difference to Chelsea’s slim hopes of pulling off a major upset at the Bernabeu, as Tuchel admits advancing to the semi-finals would be akin to the best Hollywood scripts.

“It’s one of the biggest challenges to play at the Bernabeu,” he added.

“It’s even more difficult if you have to get a certain result, if you need to win with a minimum of two goals or more or maybe a three-goal difference, that makes it almost impossible and very, very difficult, but it’s still worth it. . hard.

“We don’t need anything other than a fantastic script that we want to be able to top this.

Kai Havertz (centre) scored to give Chelsea something to take to Madrid.

Kai Havertz (centre) scored to give Chelsea something to take to Madrid. (John Walton/PA)

“The task is incredibly high and the challenge is incredibly high given the circumstances of the first leg and where we play and who we play and at what stage we play this kind of game.

“Dreaming is always allowed and sometimes it is important to imagine things and dream about them, but it will not change the focus from the fact that we must deliver and we must be ready tomorrow.

“We will arrive and we will try everything because it is worth trying and from there we will see and hopefully we will have a game where belief grows within the party due to our actions and hopefully we can fulfill our dream, live up to our dream.

“But realistically, we have to invest a lot and be at our highest level.”