Thomas Tuchel has revealed taking on Real Madrid in Europe is a ‘dream’ – but he does not want his Chelsea players to get starry eyed as the sides meet in the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday.
Chelsea were not expected to progress beyond the last-16 when they were paired with LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid.
But Tuchel made an immediate impact and Chelsea have since come through Atletico and Porto to set up a thrilling last four with Real Madrid.
This is what you dream of as a little boy, to play international games against Real Madrid, there’s no doubt about it,’ Tuchel said on the eve of Tuesday’s game.
‘It’s a big challenge and after it, we will be smarter and better. This will be a huge experience together. We are very happy to arrive at this level.’
Tuchel took over from Frank Lampard in January and has been revolutionary in stabilising their season, as well as generating great success in cup competitions.
Chelsea are in the FA Cup final, where they will play Leicester, and they are also in a strong position to secure a top four spot in the Premier League.
But the immediate focus is on Real Madrid and Tuchel knows facing Zinedine Zidane’s team, who have won the Champions League three times under his management, means it ‘cannot be harder’ to reach the final.
‘Zidane has an incredible record, especially in the Champions League, which he won three times in a row which is pretty much impossible to do,’ Tuchel added.
‘We arrived in the semi-final and on the highest level, we will play Real Madrid and it cannot be harder. That’s because they are the most experienced team in this competition.
‘They will play these games with full confidence and awareness. They are on a very good run at the moment. Sixteen or so games unbeaten. I am sure we will arrive with confidence and true inner belief.’
Chelsea head to Spain on the back of a vital win in the league away to West Ham and Tuchel has urged his players to show immense courage and adventure on the road.
He added: ‘I hope we can play adventurous football. We can play aggressive and intense football.
‘We will fight them hard and let’s see who gets the win out of these two games.’
Chelsea will first go to Spain to play at Real Madrid’s Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano training facility before hosting the return on May 5.