London (AFP) – Thomas Tuchel has praised his Chelsea players for the way they have dispatched opponents in recent weeks, saying the team are in a “good place” ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League match against Malmo.
The European champions are three points clear at the top of the Premier League and well-placed to progress from Group H of the Champions League.
Tuchel’s side are unbeaten in six matches since their loss in September to group leaders Juventus. During that run they hammered Malmo 4-0 at Stamford Bridge.
“We are in a good place,” Tuchel said at his pre-match press conference on Monday. “We know what it takes to have these kind of results, the effort we put into it.
“At the same time, we set the standards that we set in every match so tomorrow we start again from scratch.”
The German said the match in Sweden would be the “fifth or sixth game in a row” in which his side had been considered to be favourites.
“I like a lot how my team approaches these matches because we put in a lot of effort and put in a lot of intensity and give not too much on the general view about it that we are the favourites but we proved our point on the pitch and that is absolutely necessary tomorrow.”
But Tuchel warned that winless Malmo could be dangerous as they would have nothing to lose and could play with freedom.
“Malmo maybe need an extraordinary performance and they will prepare for this,” he said.
“Any team on this kind of level is able to create an extraordinary performance, so we should be prepared and we should be humble and respectful enough towards the game and towards the opponent and anything can happen.”
Chelsea’s defenders have been in outstanding goalscoring form this season, with wing-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell notching seven goals between them.
James is the club’s joint top-scorer this season — level on four goals for the season with injured striker Romelu Lukaku.
Tuchel said it was important not to rely on only one or two players to score goals but also stressed the importance of having consistent goalscorers.
“I’m happy when we create chances,” added the Chelsea boss, who said his wing-backs were often acting as midfielders because of his defensive back three . “I’m happy when we have in the end five, six players in the box to be dangerous.
“In the system that we play it’s crucial that the wing-backs are there and have the freedom to be dangerous and the second one is of course defenders need to be dangerous for set pieces.”