Tuchel dismisses Guardiola rivalry

Tuchel dismisses Guardiola rivalry

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says Saturday’s game with champions Manchester City is not about his rivalry with Pep Guardiola.

Tuchel has beaten City boss Guardiola in their past three meetings, including last season’s Champions League final.

League leaders Chelsea host fifth-place City on Saturday, but the German would not be drawn on comparisons between the managers.

“I have the highest respect for Pep,” Tuchel said on Friday.

Asked whether he was a better coach than Guardiola, Tuchel said: “This question does not even exist for me and I can’t answer it.

“It’s a question for you guys and you can endlessly debate.

“I am a huge admirer for the impact he had from his first day of his professional coaching – the impact at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. He has my biggest respect.

“There is no reason to ask myself if I am a better coach. I do the best I can, I am in a place I am very happy, and I am a better coach today than yesterday.”

Tuchel said he expected a “50/50” contest at Stamford Bridge.

“If I look at it honestly I see the last three games as three 50/50 matches,” said Tuchel.

“We want to fight hard to be the guys who have a better outcome.

“We did it several times with this team and we know how much we suffered also in these matches.

“If we win tomorrow we will not be crowned as champions, and if City win they will not be champions and we will not be in depression.”

Chelsea are unbeaten in their opening five games but they will be without influential midfielder Mason Mount.

Tuchel says he was unaware the England international was playing with an injury during the side’s midweek win over Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup.

“He is very disappointed and I didn’t feel it during the match because it was the second half and he played through the injury,” he added. “He finished the game, and was confident to take an important penalty, so it was a surprise.

“The steps he is taking are huge. Maybe it was possible if the game was one day later.

“So it’s a minor injury but there is disappointment for him and us because he is a player that we count on.

“But no matter the importance, no matter how we rely on him, the task is to find solutions without him and bring him back as soon as possible.”

Report by BBC Sport