Tuchel gives verdict on Chelsea's defeat to Man City
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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has spoken glowingly of Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo before the Blues take on his former club Juventus on Tuesday evening. Expectations of the Red Devils have increased significantly with Ronaldo in their ranks, making their poor recent run even more of a nightmare.
Both Chelsea and Juventus won their opening Champions League group stage fixtures, so Tuesday’s clash should go some way to deciding who is top dog.
Tuchel must battle through fresh injury worries as N’Golo Kante tested positive for COVID-19, while Reece James joins Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic on the sidelines.
The Blues therefore face tricky circumstances in which to bounce back from Saturday’s painful defeat at home to defending Premier League champions Manchester City.
United, meanwhile, have even more to worry about after Aston Villa inflicted their third defeat in four matches, and Tuchel’s comments serve as a reminder to up their game.
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“Time will tell, but I think it is not a secret that any team in the world without Cristiano [Ronaldo] is in some parts of the game a weaker team,” he said during Tuesday’s press conference.
“He is one of the greatest who has ever played this game and he proves it every time he is on the field.
“Now [he is] in the Premier League and in the Champions League, so they lost a big champion, a big point of reference and a big personality.
“But you can win games and be a strong team without Cristiano Ronaldo. This is also true. And they are.
“They [Juventus] have a lot of experience, a lot of talent, a big squad, a deep squad, a very experienced coach.”
It is no secret that Ronaldo is a game-changing player, and his individual form since returning to Man Utd has been superb.
Four goals in four games is a testament to his enduring goalscoring ability, even at the age of 36, but United have not been able to translate those performances into points on the board.
Ronaldo seems to be doing his bit by putting the ball in the back of the net, but others in the side are now under pressure to help convert those goals into precious victories, particularly during this desperate run of defeats.
The harsh reality is that expectations soar through the roof when Ronaldo walks into any club, and Solskjaer’s side are currently falling short.
Tuchel has cranked up the pressure on his Premier League rivals when the Blues boss has endured a tricky week of his own.
Both teams will attempt to return to winning ways against tough Champions League opposition in midweek, with Ronaldo taking a vested interest in both fixtures.
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