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Tuchel opens up on the 'dark place' after Man Utd defeat in Champions League

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has opened up on that defeat against Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League during his Paris Saint-Germain days, saying that he was in a 'dark place' after the game.

It was back during the 2018-19 Champions League season when PSG welcomed Manchester United at Parc des Princes for the return leg of the round-of-16, three weeks after taking a 2-0 advantage at Old Trafford in the first leg. The French champions were left stunned after Manchester United scored from an injury-time penalty to win the game 3-1 and knock PSG out of the competition on away goals. Reflecting on that game, Tuchel said that it brought him down to the extent that he could not speak to anybody.

"I can be very honest, after that match I was two days in a very dark place, and I can tell you I was not able to speak to anybody and to think about anything else than this defeat.

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

"I didn't experience anything like this ever again or before," Tuchel revealed.

"It was in the circumstances, this game, how we arrived there, the pressure around the club concerning the round of 16, the history before and the result of the first match and the way the second match went with the VAR decision in the last minute.

"It was like it came from absolutely nowhere, and that's why this hit was hard to take. But, like I said, I was two days in a dark place, but then we gave the players two days off, and I think that was the best for everybody.

"After that, it's like this in sports; it can teach you that you have to stand up and accept that a defeat is sometimes necessary to grow and develop and to ask yourself decisive questions.

"That can hurt, and the reward was one year later, it was almost the perfect reward when we arrived in the final, and we came a long way for that. It was through adversity, and it's often said that it makes you stronger."

PSG did win the Ligue 1 title that year and almost got their hands on the European crown in the 2019-20 Champions League season, only to lose out to Bayern Munich in the final. PSG sacked Tuchel in December 2020, and the German took over Chelsea a month later following the departure of Frank Lampard. The former Borussia Dortmund boss now faces his old foes, Manchester United, in the Premier League on Sunday, February 28 at Stamford Bridge with a hope of finally ending his opponent's impeccable form away from home.

Chelsea are unbeaten in eight games since Tuchel's arrival and are just six points away from second-placed Manchester United.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Neil Hall

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