Thomas Tuchel believes Chelsea face a “huge disadvantage” in overturning their Champions League deficit to Real Madrid as the Spanish side have been able to make five substitutions throughout the season.
Chelsea’s reign as European Champions looks set to come to an end as they head to the Spanish capital needing to overturn a 3-1 quarter-final first leg defeat to the 13-time winners at Stamford Bridge last week.
Tuchel said he wanted to see more physicality from his players in the loss, which saw Karim Benzema’s hat-trick put Real on course for the last four.
But he feels the decision to allow Premier League teams to only make three substitutions, as opposed to five in La Liga and other major European leagues, could have a detrimental effect on an already mammoth task.
“First of all, we wanted it more physical but we did not work hard or intense enough in the first match,” he said.
“Second of all, we face a huge disadvantage in terms of physicality because Real Madrid has a whole year with five changes and we play the most demanding league, we play the most matches throughout the season and throughout 2022 so it is not always easy to play a physical game.
“We are a team that needs the physicality, the sharpness, the commitment and the investment to be a special team. We could not implement that enough in the last match.
“This was also due to their quality, their capacity to slow the game down, to control the match by ball possession.”
The Premier League has recently announced that five substitutions will be permitted from next season, something which was initially put in place following the return to action after the delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes too late for it to make a difference to Chelsea’s slim hopes of springing a huge upset at the Bernabeu, however, as Tuchel admits progression into the semi-finals would be akin to the best Hollywood scripts.