Thomas Tuchel says Sheffield United and Chelsea were destined to meet in the FA Cup
Sheffield United and Chelsea were destined to be drawn together in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, the Londoners’ manager Thomas Tuchel has suggested, after revealing he had a hunch they “would soon face each other again” following last weekend’s Premier League encounter at Bramall Lane.
Again paying tribute to United’s performance during that contest, which the visitors won 2-1 thanks to a Jorginho penalty, Tuchel also warned his players that Chris Wilder’s side possess both the quality and the mindset to cause an upset at Stamford Bridge next month.
“I had a feeling we would play them again,” Tuchel said. “I thought at the time it would happen, I don’t know why, although I felt we would be coming back to Bramall Lane.
“When we were there, on that Sunday, it felt like a cup tie then. They (United) played the game as if it was a cup tie and they are very, very intense.
“So we face them once more in what is the most prestigious cup tournament in the world. I’m pleased that this time, we will be playing at our stadium.”
United, who are scheduled to travel to west London on the weekend of March 20, visit the capital on Monday when their battle for Premier League survival resumes with a game against West Ham. Having prepared for that match 12 points adrift of safety, Wilder’s squad then face fellow strugglers Fulham before hosting reigning champions Liverpool.
Although their fate could effectively be sealed by the time they renew their rivalry with Chelsea, Wilder has outlined plans to use the knockout tournament as a weapon in the war to avoid the drop; noting how United’s results have improved beyond recognition since beating Bristol Rovers in the third round. They advanced to the later stages by beating Plymouth Argyle and Bristol City, with Wednesday night’s victory over the latter meaning they have now won six of their last nine matches in all competitions. Chelsea knocked out Barnsley at Oakwell 24 hours later.
“We haven’t won enough games this season so there’s no prioritising,” Wilder said. “We just want to win games of football, that is it.”