Thomas Tuchel has delivered his verdict on Chelsea’s upcoming Champions League quarter-final tie against high-flying Porto.
Despite enduring a tumultuous domestic campaign, Chelsea have been the best version of themselves in Europe.
The Blues were flawless in the group stage under Frank Lampard and proceeded at the same pace under Tuchel in the knock-out phase.
Atletico Madrid found themselves on the receiving end of Chelsea’s renaissance under the German boss, failing to score in either leg of their last-16 tie.
A 3-0 aggregate success versus regular European campaigners ended the Londoners’ ten-year wait for a Champions League quarter-finals appearance.
The last time Chelsea came this far in the competition, they went on to win it courtesy of a penalty shoot-out success against Bayern Munich in 2011/12.
Standing in the way between them and the semi-finals this time around is Porto, who have produced a thoroughly impressive Champions League campaign.
Sergio Conceicao’s squad qualified for the knock-outs as Group C runners-up behind Manchester City after picking up 13 points in six matches (W4, D1, L1).
Porto refused to slow down in the round of 16, going past Serie A juggernauts Juventus on the away goal rule.
Though their last-16 success was a bit scrappy, it came at the expense of one of the favourites to win the tournament.
On that basis, Chelsea should think twice before writing the Portuguese club off prematurely.
Tuchel, who led Paris Saint-Germain to their first Champions League final last season, believes his men have no room for complacency despite being titled as favourites in this tie.
“First of all, I am happy we play an international game not against English team because Champions League is about that as I always prefer to play teams from other countries,” the German said, as quoted by the Metro.
“Then we have a second leg at home, which feels good, to start with an away game, and then maybe the slight advantage to finish at home.
“Clearly, many people will maybe now make us favourites against Porto that will not help us because you can ask in Turin their opinion about whether it helps you to be favourites.
“It does not help you, but we are self-confident, and that is strongly connected with our performances.
“We are confident that we face a strong opponent that we face with all the respect, but now that we are in quarter-final, we think about how to win it.
“The only thing we focus on is to reach the semi-final and we are confident enough that we see our chances.”