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Chelsea FC: Tuchel drops Real Madrid selection hint and rules out ‘crazy’ response

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K

ai Havertz is set to keep his place at the point of Chelsea’s attack against Real Madrid, with Thomas Tuchel taking the unusual step to single the German out for praise after Saturday’s stunning defeat by Brentford.

The £71million forward was guilty of missing two crucial chances in the second half as the European champions lost 4-1.

Havertz’s form has been so impressive that it has reduced £97.5m club-record signing Romelu Lukaku to the role of substitute.

But despite his wayward finishing – twice failing to hit the target with just the goalkeeper to beat – Tuchel remains convinced the German is Chelsea’s best option at the point of attack.

“I felt he was our strongest player,” Tuchel said. “I think he worked like an animal and was very dangerous. I am very happy with his performance in particular.”

Kai Havertz drew strong praise from Thomas Tuchel despite his missed chances against Brentford

/ Getty Images

It was a fierce defence of a player who had scored six times in his last eight games, with Tuchel desperate to avoid any sense of panic ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie against Madrid.

Defending their European crown is Chelsea’s primary focus and Tuchel is left to hope his side can respond to their heaviest defeat of the season in a similar fashion to their reaction to last term’s 5-2 humbling at the hands of West Brom.

Back then they went on a run that saw them beat Manchester City in the FA Cup and the league, as well as eliminate Porto and Real Madrid on their way to the Champions League Final.

Tuchel was reluctant to label Brentford as a wake-up call, but was adamant his players needed to get it out of their systems before Wednesday.

“It is a bit harder because we have to digest a big loss and we didn’t see it coming. So that is maybe the problem,” he said.

“We don’t need special things now. We need to rely on the things and trust that we have built throughout the whole season and the whole year.

“I don’t think that we will do crazy stuff now and give crazy speeches or whatever.

“It doesn’t matter if it is a big name or not such a big name. There are only tough matches out there for us in the last weeks. This is the good news. There is no crazy stuff needed now.”

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