Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has said Jurgen Klopp generates public support for Liverpool because he is “the master of being the underdog.”
Tuchel’s side face Liverpool in Saturday’s FA Cup Final ker’s future is “not the situation you want” on the eve of an FA Cup final against Liverpool on Saturday (11.45 a.m. ET, stream live on ESPN+, U.S. only) aiming to end their own season on a high while stopping their opponents’ quest for an unprecedented Quadruple, having beaten Chelsea to win the first of four possible trophies in February’s Carabao Cup Final.
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola claimed earlier this week that “everybody in this country — the media and everyone” –supports Liverpool and would prefer to see them lift the Premier League title.
And Tuchel has now suggested that Klopp’s charm has enabled him to garner backing for his teams both at Liverpool — including their run to the Champions League Final — and his former club Borussia Dortmund.
“You know Klopp is the master of being the underdog,” Tuchel said. “He can talk you into being the underdog against Villarreal and against Benfica [in this season’s Champions League], and it’s 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, Kloppo is a fantastic guy, funny guy, one of the very, very best coaches in the world and that’s what he does.
“When he trained Dortmund, the whole country loved Dortmund. So 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 if you play a team against him, it’s always like this, but it’s always the fun part and so if we are the bad guys [on Saturday], then no problem. “Forty nine 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.”
Asked specifically about Guardiola’s claim that the nation wanted to see Liverpool succeed, Tuchel said: “I’m not a Liverpool fan. I can understand why he made [that comment]. I can understand why he has that feeling. In general I would say it is hard to really argue with it.
“It isn’t about Chelsea, it’s about Man City and Liverpool, right? I did not say I agree 100% but I can see. I believe I can understand what he meant. There is a huge sympathy for Liverpool in the country. They work hard for it and no offence. I can understand what he means.
“I think it’s normal, it’s everywhere. I’m not so sure in France, it’s the team I managed [Paris Saint-Germain]! But, yes 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 can understand it. I have friends in Germany, of course it is also because of Jurgen, but in general what this club stands for and how they run the business, and how the fans push their team. You have the feeling it’s purely about football and this is like a huge history in this club and there is a huge sympathy for it.
“If you fight against it, like Pep for many, many years, I can understand the comment that 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.”