They are the best team in England right now – Tuchel praises Man City

Mueez Bolaji

– Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says Manchester City are the “benchmark” before the two clubs meet in the Premier League on Saturday.

– Tuchel added the way top-flight leaders City have dealt with injuries and Covid-19 this season is the difference between the two sides.

– Chelsea go into the game at Etihad Stadium 10 points behind their rivals.

Also Read: Rudiger on target as Chelsea reach Wembley

– “Maybe it’s luck, maybe they do it better, but they have less injuries from key players,” said Tuchel.

– “They have less players out and less weeks where they miss them.

– “And they did not suffer from Covid as we did over many weeks so this is a huge difference.

– “We had some draws in the season that were unnecessary, and if you have the full squad, you create a certain atmosphere that pushes everybody to the edge.

– “And you need to be on your edge and at the very highest level if you want to compete with Manchester City.

– “They are the benchmark, they are the best team in England right now. This is something we have to admit realistically.”

– City manager Pep Guardiola was one of 21 people, including seven senior players, isolating at the club before their FA Cup win at Swindon Town on 7 January.

– Some of those have returned but there have also been some fresh cases at the top-flight champions.

– “We have some new cases but they want privacy, so I cannot tell you,” said Guardiola.

– “We had a lot of cases and a lot of injuries. We played Aston Villa with 11 first-team players and in the last six or seven games there were four or five academy players on the bench.

– “We are in the same situation as all other clubs. Maybe injuries are bit less because our medical department have been exceptional but, in terms of Covid, we have had a lot, like all clubs.”

– Chelsea had a request to postpone a match against Wolves in December rejected after a Covid-19 outbreak at the club and the game finished goalless.

– Since then, draws against Brighton and Liverpool have also seen the Stamford Bridge outfit lose ground to City – who have won 11 consecutive Premier League matches – in the title race.

– Chelsea will be without Andreas Christensen against City on Saturday after the defender tested positive for Covid-19.

– Asked if his side’s hopes of winning the Premier League crown would be over if his side lost to City, Tuchel said: “Maybe, who knows.

– “We don’t think a lot in scenarios what happens if – let’s play the game.

– “I’m always in for a good fight, but I’m also always very realistic.”

– Chelsea edged City 1-0 in the Champions League final last season, but were beaten by the same margin when they met Guardiola’s men in the league at Stamford Bridge last September.

– “If you look back to our last games, when we have our squad and are in good shape, we are always up for a good fight with Manchester City and are always there to push them to the limit and to ask some questions that they don’t like, maybe, to answer,” Tuchel added.

– “But the situation at the moment is that they are very strong, very consistent and they perform on the absolute highest level.”