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Before coming to Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel had never beaten Pep Guardiola in his career. However, the FA Cup semi-final clash against Manchester City marked Tuchel’s first victory over the former Barcelona boss.
The two managers will lock horns at the Etihad on Saturday, and Tuchel has admitted that Pep Guardiola’s team are usually strong and he hailed Manchester City as the strongest side in Europe.
Tuchel told the media: “If you play against Pep you know the most difficult games have arrived, because he is the coach of the best teams in Europe and he leaves his footprint and his style of play. It is full of courage and full of quality and full of flexibility. His teams are always super hungry to win, he transforms any team into a winning machine.
“They are the benchmark of this league. It’s a big gap but like we did in the semi-final, it’s up to us to close the gap for 90 minutes and then we will do the same thing in the final.
“When you arrive against Pep the level is high and you need to be on your very best coaching level to push your team to full confidence and to hopefully play on the best level, because they are used to winning, their team are very regular at the highest level and it is another big challenge tomorrow.
“It was the same in the semi-final, we knew that this is maybe the toughest opponent right now in Europe that you can play. You never want to admit that there is a gap, but if you feel you play a team like City which is the benchmark in the league, the goal is to close the gap for 90 minutes because this is what you can do in football and exactly what we did at Wembley.”