Chelsea

Trevor Steven: Tuchel must be brave if Chelsea are to upset Man City again

Football is about moments and Saturday’s Champions League final against Chelsea feels like it is Manchester City’s.

 

When City hired Pep Guardiola five years ago it was in order to win this competition and they have never had a better chance than this.

 

Saturday’s clash in Porto is their opportunity to make the step up from the ranks of big team to genuine global superclub.

Once they went top of the Premier League in this strange season they never looked like being caught.

 

They bagged the title early, have barely let up since and enjoyed the perfect warm-up for the final by ripping Everton apart on Sunday.

 

Hearing Guardiola speak this week, he seems completely confident that City will carry that form into the Champions League final.

 

They have scored many more goals than their opponents and conceded fewer, so there is only one argument to make for Chelsea – and that is Thomas Tuchel.

Tuchel has led the Blues to victory over City twice in the last six weeks alone.

 

That must be a source of irritation for Guardiola but, more significantly, is a sign of the winning mentality that the German has re-established at Chelsea.

 

The way Tuchel instantly captured his new team’s imagination has been truly remarkable, a real demonstration of football knowledge.

 

I’m interested to see how he moulds the squad over the summer because I really believe he can make Chelsea title contenders next season.

 

For now, though, his task is to get his players in the right mood to cause an upset against City once more.

Tuchel’s Chelsea have been accused of buckling under pressure in the FA Cup final, which they lost to Leicester, and in the race for a Champions League place.

 

They did ultimately do enough to finish in the top four, though, and the difference this time is that the pressure is not on them: they are the underdogs.

 

All-English final harks back to heyday

 

City and Chelsea are both very quick teams, and the Blues’ ability to counter attack shouldn’t be underestimated, especially if N’Golo Kante is fit.

 

Chelsea’s forward players haven’t grasped their opportunity yet this year but this is the perfect time to change course.

 

I think it’s key that Tuchel isn’t too cautious with his team selection. He needs to pick an XI to win the Champions League final, not just to not lose.

If he just tries to contain City it will ultimately come unstuck and he will be rightly criticised.

 

Guardiola’s team are happy to be be patient and we have seen in recent games that Chelsea aren’t that great at holding out.

 

It would be ridiculous if Chelsea won the Champions League just four months after sacking Frank Lampard. And yet they did it in 2012. Can history really repeat itself?

 

I don’t think so but I’ll be glued to what I think will be a brilliant final.

 

It’s probably a contest neither side wanted; when teams know each other well they can nullify each other better.

 

But a second all-English Champions League final in three years harks back to the heyday of 10-15 years ago and is terrific for the Premier League.

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