Thomas Tuchel holds an impressive record against Pep Guardiola since taking over at Chelsea, but the German is under no illusions about the Catalan’s ability as a manager
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has admitted he is a “huge admirer” of Pep Guardiola’s coaching abilities but refused to be drawn on whether he is the better coach after an impressive recent record against his managerial counterpart.
Chelsea have picked up where they left off from last season after clinching a top four place, winning four of their opening five fixtures.
That is despite facing Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham away from home already, with Tuchel’s men roaring to a convincing 3-0 win over the latter on Sunday.
The Blues face another test in hosting the reigning champions on Saturday lunchtime, but Chelsea will be brimming with confidence after winning all three of their last meetings with Guardiola’s men.
That includes seeing off Man City 1-0 in the Champions League final, as well as a victory in the FA Cup semi-final by the same scoreline.
Despite his recent success against Guardiola, 47-year-old Tuchel is under no illusions of how talented his opposite number is.
“I have the highest respect for Pep,” Tuchel said on Friday.
When asked if he was the better of the two coaches after winning all three of their meeting since taking over at Chelsea, Tuchel refused to be drawn on making such assumptions.
“This question does not even exist for me and I can’t answer it,” he added.
“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.
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“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.”
All three of those matches last season were won by a single goal and Tuchel admits that his side were fortunate to get the edge due to the finely balanced nature of their encounters.
But he insists that, even if his side managed a fourth straight win over City, the title race remains far from over.
“If I look at it honestly I see the last three games as three 50/50 matches,” he added.
“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 can climb to the top of the table if they better Manchester United ’s result, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side entertaining Aston Villa at Old Trafford also in an early kick-off on Saturday.