Thomas Tuchel has called on his Chelsea team to show the courage to face the challenges and build on their Champions League triumph. In Belfast on Wednesday night, Tuchel will attempt to lead his squad, set to be reinforced in the next 24 hours by the £97.5 million arrival of Romelu Lukaku, to their second trophy under his command.
They face Europa League winners Villareal in the UEFA Super Cup final a few months on from their second European Cup triumph.
Chelsea’s victory in the Champions League final over favourites Manchester City in May came against the odds – but Tuchel is demanding that the pressure of building on that win by following it up with a Premier League title this coming season is something his players simply have to be brave enough to handle.
The German said: “The courage we need now is to face the challenge.
“Does anybody have a recipe on how to do better after a Champions League victory? I don’t know, it was my first win – so I think the courage we have to have is to face the challenges, step up and keep on demanding.
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“We have things we need to develop and improve – there were things that were very strong last season and we have to maintain that level.
“We have to rebuild the same spirit that put us in the position to get those results. But the most important is that we don’t lose sight of that by thinking too much about pressure and expectations.
“It is an everyday process. If you take care with it, you don’t get too distracted and it doesn’t get complicated.
“It doesn’t feel like pressure – because this is what we demand of ourselves, me at the very first point.
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“I demand to get better every day, use my experience and to be the best coach I can be every single day.
Chelsea have used the summer to clear the decks of several young stars like Marc Guehi and Fikayo Tomori to make room for two new signings.
Another who could be heading out is striker Tammy Abraham, set for a £34m move to Roma, who are set to lose their forward Edin Dzeko to Inter, to replace Lukaku in a summer transfer merry-go-round.
Abraham, who played just 17 minutes in the final three months of the season, is in contention for the game against Villarreal, but Tuchel admitted: “Tammy is in the squad and did good preparation.
“He was clearly not happy with the last half a year and he has maybe reason not to be happy. Maybe it was my fault not to trust him at the same level as other players.
“I can understand he wants more minutes. The decision will be how do we plan? Does he fight his way back, or does he change to a club where he has a better chance of being a starter? I can understand the situation.”