Thomas Tuchel Says Loss to Man United in ’19 UCL Sent Him to ‘dark place’

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Tomorrow brings another face-off between managers Thomas Tuchel and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. In October 2019, Tuchel, then leading Paris Saint-Germain, became the first manager to lose a Champions League knockout round tie at home after having gone up 2-0 in the away leg.

It was Solskjaer’s United that beat him, in a match that essentially got OGS the eventual upgrade from interim to full time manager. Probably still the Norwegian’s greatest triumph as United manager, on the side, Tuchel said it sent him on a downward spiral for a couple of days.

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Chelsea FC vs Manchester United FYIs

Kickoff: 5:30 BST Sunday Feb 28,  Stamford Bridge

Odds:   United (+230)   Chelsea FC win (+125)    Draw (+220)

Starting XI Predictions:  Chelsea FC    Manchester United

Team News for both sides: go to this link

TV:   NBCSN

Key Stat: United have only suffered one loss in their last 19 league games

“I can be very honest with you, after that match, I was two days in a very dark place,” Tuchel said ahead of his Chelsea side hosting Solskjaer’s United tomorrow.

“I can tell you I was not able to speak to anybody or able to think about anything else than this defeat.

“That was maybe the worst defeat that I experienced because it came from nowhere and was in a way, in circumstances where it arrived, two days a dark place for a coach to be at.

“I didn’t experience it ever again and not before. It was in the circumstances of this game, how we arrived there, the pressure around the club concerning the round of 16, the history before and the way the result in the first match and the way the second match went, the VAR decision in the last minute.

“It came from absolutely nowhere and that’s why this hit was hard to take. Like I said, I was two days in a dark place, then we gave two days off and I still think it was the best for everybody and after that, it is like this in sports sometimes and it is your duty to stand up and to accept a defeat is sometimes necessary to grow and develop and to ask yourself decisive questions.

“That can hurt but the reward was one year later, almost the perfect reward, when we arrived for the first time in the final. We came a long way for that. In some moments you face adversity. It is often sad but it makes you stronger.”

Tuchel was sacked in December despite topping a UCL group this season that included two more games against United, a 2-1 home defeat and a 3-1 win at Old Trafford. PSG advanced to the Champions League knockout round while United have crashed out, so he’s already “avenged” that loss.

He laso guided PSG to its deepest Champions League run ever, taking them to the final, where they lost to Bayern Munich.

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Prediction: Manchester United 2, Chelsea FC 1

Chelsea are in really fine form right now, but knowing just how stellar the Red Devils have been on the road this season, I really think they “got this.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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