Thomas Tuchel has insisted Chelsea’s clash with Liverpool will not be decisive in the race for the top four, and said the long-term aim is to turn the Blues into title contenders.
Chelsea are unbeaten under Tuchel, but will be handed a stern examination when they face Liverpool at Anfield on Thursday.
The Blues are one point and one position above Liverpool in fifth, but with 12 games remaining in the season, Tuchel feels Thursday’s trip to Merseyside will not be the deciding factor on who secures a place in the top four.
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“We still have 12 matches to go, the result tomorrow will not be the end of the race for the top four,” Tuchel said. "It's of big importance, I hope we can show up with the same mentality and attitude like the tough challenges we've had.
Going to Anfield for regular games. This is what you dream of as a player like me not at the highest level... normally you watch these games on TV. Now I'm part of it, I'm very grateful for it and it makes me feel alive.
"They're one of the best teams in Europe but we're confident we can go there and do what we have to do to win."
Tuchel has overseen six wins and three draws since taking the reins at Stamford Bridge.
He will likely be backed by owner Roman Abramovich in the summer transfer window, and admitted the long-term goal is to compete with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title.
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Asked if he thinks Chelsea can challenge for the title next term, Tuchel replied: "Hopefully. It is our job, nothing else is the job than this. There is no time in football, though we wish for time in football so we want to be a part of the transition, do the transition and while we do that, we want to win games, that is absolutely clear.
"But we feel ready for it and like I said, we have all the right to be confident. We have played Atletico Madrid and Man Utd, two big opponents and two big performances and we can compete on that level, super close games and we are always ready to win these games.
This is why we are here, to create that spirit and to bring out that talent and quality, keep doing that. Yes, it is an unbelievable run for Manchester City, these are strange times with no fans and spectators because of Coronavirus with no supporters but everybody is suffering in the same way.
"For me the two teams are still the benchmark, Liverpool and Man City and we can't close the gap. This is the target.”
Tuchel confirmed Callum Hudson-Odoi would be fit to face Liverpool, but the game will come too soon for Thiago Silva - and Tammy Abraham will be assessed on Thursday morning.
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