London (AFP) – Thomas Tuchel said he would lead an “angry” Chelsea into Saturday’s FA Cup final after defeat by Arsenal dented their Premier League top-four hopes.
The Blues boss admitted preparations for the match against Leicester at Wembley would be made easier by his team’s frustrations following Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat.
“We all feel that anger on ourselves on the missed opportunity and the performance that night against Arsenal,” he said on Friday. “So it’s a good thing, in that it’s easy to prepare.
“Now the challenge is to focus, focus only on this match, focus on us and play on the edge.”
But he added: “I will not get carried away with emotions tomorrow. I am fully focused to prepare my team better than we did two days ago.”
The former Paris Saint-Germain manager has steered Chelsea to both the FA Cup and Champions League finals in just four months at the helm.
They are fourth in the Premier League and still in a strong position to qualify for next season’s Champions League, but Wednesday’s defeat at Stamford Bridge makes their task tougher, giving Liverpool fresh hope.
Tuchel welcomed the availability of midfielders Mateo Kovacic and former Leicester star N’Golo Kante for the Wembley showpiece.
Croatia star Kovacic has missed nine matches with a hamstring problem while Kante was kept out of the Arsenal match due to a painful Achilles issue.
“The whole group is available, Kova is with us again,” said Tuchel.
“It’s huge because Mateo has everything that we need in midfield. He has experience, power, acceleration, deceleration, he can dribble the ball and beat players. He’s fast, he has physical ability and he’s experienced in big games and in the Premier League.
“When we missed N’Golo and Mateo in the same match we lacked a lot of quality, energy and experience.”
Tuchel’s side will face third-placed Leicester again on Tuesday in a crucial Premier League encounter, with the Blues boss describing them as “two finals”.
“There’s the final for the cup and the final for the top four,” he said.
“We missed the chance against Arsenal to be decisive, have the decisive advantage, so now we have to cope with it, and first of all show the reaction at Wembley to have the upper hand on Tuesday. And this is what we are up for.”
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