Is there now less pressure on the Champions League final after you finished in the top four?
“It’s a good thing [finishing in the top four]. It’s a strange situation as we hate to lose and we’re never happy when we lose. This feeling will never go away whether it’s a match that matters on the last day of the season and has a huge impact like this, or it is a defeat that changes the fixture.
“For us, luckily, that will never change or feel good. This is part of us we should all accept. At the same time, it’s a bit strange that we produce again numbers in this defeat when we normally would say we should be the deserved winners but we are not. So it’s a strange feeling again to let it slip through our hands but be able to produce strong performances.
“For the third reason it feels awkward is that in the end there’s a big outcome and a huge objective that we reached. It was the main objective and main target. It was a big achievement from all the players and everybody who helps us.
“We’re so happy we made it because we produced results to get into the situation that it was possible to lose and still be in the top four. All this is now done and the huge mix of feelings needs to settle, this is the day for that with the recovery sessions and tomorrow is a day off.
“From Wednesday not we’ll be fully focused on Saturday’s match. We have no other objectives to reach. We just play for the cup and that’s the mindset that we will arrive in Porto.
What’s the latest on N’Golo Kante’s fitness?
“With N’Golo nothing has changed. I think about changing my tactics now and stop asking about N’Golo. I’ll just put him on the pitch in Wednesday training and don’t ask anymore. If there are any problems we will just put him in training and put him on the pitch when the game starts on Saturday.
“Maybe I won’t start to the doctors and physios so I don’t hear doubts or complaints or nothing. Maybe I have to think about the tactics. It looks good and I hope it stays like this.”
What do you think is important in the coming days, rest and relaxation or more than that this week?
“It’s mental relaxation now because it was a tight schedule for us being in the race for top four from the first moment we arrived, and making it to the FA Cup and Champions League final meant a huge task to fulfill. That’s why it was a constant up and down, constant pressure, focusing on different competitions, that was not easy.
“So we are absolutely happy and it’s an outstanding achievement we made it. Now is the moment for a mental break for the players. I will use it personally to think about how we will approach the game on Saturday. What are the headlines? The key points? How do we approach it mentally, emotionally, tactically?
“This is my day tomorrow to be prepared on Wednesday when the players come back. The players need a bit of distraction and mental rest to breathe. And then I want them to be here on Wednesday full of joy because this is maybe their most exciting week in their life as professional players.
“We are allowed to prepare for a final in the Champions League and it’s a dream come true. This is the atmosphere we want to build but I don’t know what the headlines and points to focus on will be yet. This will be decided tomorrow.”
How is Edou Mendy?
“The latest update is we still have hope that he joins training on Wednesday, that he joins the group. He has made a huge improvement in his management of pain and so we need further updates on Wednesday. We hope to have him back then.”
You and Thiago Silva competed in last year’s Champions League, is that an experience that can benefit you?
“I learned, of course, because I learn from every match and experience is a crucial and very important thing in coaching. The more experience I have in coaching the better I can be.
“I arrive smarter and more experienced in my personal second final. The same for Thiago [Silva]. But the situation is quite different because we arrived last year in a 12-day tournament where we played two knockout games and then the final.
“This feels very different because we came a long way: with Frank through the group stage and in the knockouts we played six matches to arrive in the final. This is a very different feeling. We didn’t have the experience together but I’m pretty sure it’s a big advantage for Tia [Thiago Silva] to arrive in the final, have this experience again, and learn from the year before.
“We didn’t have it as a team but I am not sure it’s a subject to use. Me as a player, I’m not sure so sure I would love to hear the story from my coach who was there last year with a different team. If we had it together we would clearly use it. But we arrive for the first time together and we will prepare, find the headlines and topics to use this week.”
Do you have a psychological edge knowing you’ve beaten Man City in your last two meetings?
“I don’t know if it’s an advantage but we are aware of it that we closed the gap to Man City in two games. We did it in a short period of time, not so long ago. But in a final anything can happen in all directions. Luck is a huge part, the mental approach over who can handle the pressure, the little details like who can release the pressure and have the first positive moment in the match.
“You have to adapt constantly to what happens, this is very, very important. But I think it helped us a lot to bond, grow and arrive with self-confidence. Man City are the benchmark in Europe and this league. We are the guys who want to hunt them and close the gap. We want to challenge them and it’s what we will for a minimum of 90 minutes in Porto.
“The experience helps but it doesn’t give us an advantage. It helps us arrive with self-confidence and be aware what is needed to have the chance to beat them.”
Are the indications with Edou Mendy that it’s more likely to be bruising than something serious?
“Edou will play if he’s fit. And if he’s not fit on Wednesday, we will try Thursday, and if not then we will try Friday. We will be reasonable and take responsibility for the decision. At the same time, we have trust if he can’t make it. We have a strong guy with Kepa on the bench who would take his place.
“So the race is on. We are happy the images didn’t show the injury was too serious. So we are positive. But every hour and every day counts. Hopefully, the team around Edou and he himself can do enough that he is on the pitch. It would be a good boost for us.”
What are the situations with Olivier Giroud and Thiago Silva as both of their contracts are expiring?
“First of all we have another week together and I think everything is delayed for obvious reasons. We speak, of course, and the board knows my opinion. It’s not the moment to give any announcement. The club will announce these things, not the coach. It’s good that it’s like this.”
Does it concern you that Chelsea have lost three of their last four matches?
“It concerns me because it always concerns me when you lose. It’s not so easy to get a grip on these losses to analyse them because the data and statistics we produced, the performances we produced, do not indicate it’s necessary to lose or logicalcal to lose. But the fact is we did and we are concerned because, as I said, it’s the worst feeling to lose.
“We can’t deny performance. Sometimes it’s a bit too much that we are unlucky. In the last weeks, I don’t want to stress it too much because it seems we talk about it too many times. But it is like this. We are simply not lucky enough in these games, maybe we didn’t push it enough or whatever.
“We are looking for reasons but we can’t deny that we had good performances and we win these game sin all statistics that are relevant to the game. We finished in the top four, unfortunately, lose a cup final, now we have another final in the Champions League. It’s normally a very unique match and we are aware we deserve to arrive there.
“We worked hard, had crucial moments, had opponents to overcome. This is pretty much it. So yes and no, we are concerned but from Wednesday on there are no doubts, no point fingers, no second thoughts. It’s only all-in for Saturday’s match.”
It’s a huge game but one against another Premier League team, does that give you more difficulties?
“Obviously we don’t have the advantage of being in the hardest league and to facing a team in another league that isn’t used to having the schedule and adversity. Man City are clearly the benchmark of our league. It’s the toughest one to play and that’s how it should be.
In each football.london Chelsea bulletin, we’ll be bringing you the latest breaking news, transfer features and comment pieces, as well as the key talking points for fans.
You won’t miss a single thing when it comes to Chelsea.
We’ll also send special newsletters when big stories break or there’s a special event happening. And with the January transfer window now open there’s plenty of content to get your teeth into.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Chelsea section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
And that’s it, you’re all set.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
For more details, click here.
“We don’t lose ourselves in thoughts like this. From the moment the semi-finals were drawn, it was clear this could happen. We focused totally on us and we that arrives is an incredible achievement. Once we arrive we want to be at our very best.
“It’s City with Pep on the side, so maybe they are the best team in Europe at the moment and maybe the world. It’s on again us to close the gap for 90 minutes. The good thing is we have done it already. We played this exact team in exactly the same circumstances in a short period of time. This is the point to continue and the point to beleive.
“Everything is possible in a final. Of course, everything is possible in every direction. We want to push luck and destiny and this game on our side.”