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Why Liverpool are the 'underdogs' in FA Cup final vs Chelsea as Thomas Tuchel plays the bad guy

By Adam Newson

Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea will happily play the role of 'bad guys' in the FA Cup final against Liverpool and understands why Man City head coach Pep Guardiola has claimed the whole of the United Kingdom supports Jurgen Klopp's side.

Chelsea will be bidding to win their third trophy of the campaign when they walk out at Wembley tomorrow evening. The UEFA Super Cup has been claimed and the FIFA World Club Cup won, but Tuchel hasn't been able to get his hands on domestic silverware during his 18 months at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool stopped him from doing so in February when they overcame the Blues on penalties to win the Carabao Cup. And Klopp's side will be hoping to inflict a third successful FA Cup final defeat on Chelsea, who were beaten in the showpiece game of the world's oldest club competition by Arsenal in 2020 and Leicester City last term.

READ MORE: Reece and Lauren James set sights on historic FA Cup feat and discuss growing up as Chelsea supporters

Tuchel accepts victory will not come easy for his side – and admits Chelsea may not garner the same level of adulation and support across the country ahead of the final as Liverpool, something Guardiola highlighted at the start of the week amid City's intense Premier League title battle with the Reds.

“I would say it is hard to really argue with him (Guardiola). I do not say I agree 100% but I can understand what he meant," Tuchel explains ahead of the FA Cup final. "I think it’s normal and it's everywhere. I’m not so sure about France...well, not for the team I managed! But it’s similar everywhere. There are huge sympathies everywhere.

"There are huge sympathies for Liverpool, I feel that as well in the whole country. And I can understand it. I have friends in Germany and, of course, it is partly because of Jurgen. But in general, it's about what the club stands for, how they run their business, and how the fans push the team. You have the feeling it’s purely about football.

"There is a huge history in this club and there is huge sympathy for it. And if you fight against it, like Pep for many, many years, I can understand the comment, why it feels sometimes like this. But at the same time, I don’t think it’s only here. It’s in Germany like this and in France too.”

Tuchel was then asked what made him think Liverpool received greater sympathy than other clubs. But before the question was even finished, the Chelsea head coach began his answer: “You know Klopp is the master of being the underdog. He can talk you into being the underdog against Villareal and against Benfica – and it’s a miracle, a miracle how they even draw against them.

"He can talk you into it and he does it all the time. He does it a lot of times. That’s part of it. That’s also like from where the sympathy comes. There’s nothing to be jealous of from my side, Klopp is a fantastic guy, a funny guy, one of very, very best coaches in the world, and that’s what he does.

"When he trained Dortmund, the whole country loved Dortmund. Now he trains Liverpool and you have the feeling the whole country loves Liverpool. It’s big, big, big credit to him and this is what you deal with when you play with a team against him. It’s always like this, but it’s always the fun part.

"So if we are the bad guys tomorrow, then no problem. 49 or 40%, then no problem. We take that role. We don’t want to have the sympathy of the country tomorrow, we want to have the trophy.”

The careers of Klopp and Tuchel are intrinsically linked. Both started their senior coaching careers at Mainz. Both had successful spells in charge of Borussia Dortmund. And both moved on from German football, came to the Premier League, and went on to win their Champions League with their respective clubs.

They are viewed very differently as people, however. Klopp is a larger-than-life character, a man with a booming laugh and warm smile. Tuchel is seen as more studious and less charismatic, although those who have been in his presence at press conferences this season would attest to the 48-year-old having a sharp wit and strong sense of humour.

"You have to do your thing and not get influenced," Tuchel says. "I was the guy behind him at Dortmund and it was another role to do this, not always easy. But I have nothing but the biggest respect for him for what he’s doing. He is very charismatic. He is like one with the supporters and the club. He is the face, the charismatic leader of the development of this huge club.

"It is at a club with a huge, huge reputation, not only in Europe but worldwide. So my players have to step up against it and I have to step up against it. It is always like this. Not only on the field but on the side. We cannot be bullied by anybody. It is not possible."

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Dive Deeper:
Thomas Tuchel doesn’t mind if Chelsea are ‘the bad guys’ in FA Cup final
Chelsea’s manager has said he understands why Pep Guardiola believes the public want Liverpool to win the Premier League, but…
Thomas Tuchel happy for Chelsea to be ‘the bad guys’ against Liverpool
Tuchel feels there are ‘huge sympathies for Liverpool’ in the country ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final
Thomas Tuchel outlines the Liverpool weakness that Chelsea can exploit in the FA Cup final
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel made a keen observation about Liverpool's team prior to the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium…
Chelsea vs Liverpool FA Cup Final: Thomas Tuchel gifted advantage as dressing rooms revealed
Thomas Tuchel is keen to avenge Chelse's Carabao Cup misery ahead in the Blues' FA Cup final clash with Liverpool
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Thomas Tuchel's hope for Chelsea 'miracle' vs Liverpool and 7 stars set to start FA Cup final
Chelsea take on Liverpool in the FA Cup final looking to earn a third piece of silverware for the season
Thomas Tuchel handed major injury boost ahead of Chelsea's FA Cup final versus Liverpool
Chelsea have been stretched in midfield in recent weeks with injuries to Jorginho, N'Golo Kante and now Mateo Kovacic
Get all your news in one place