To reach FA Cup final, Chelsea must overcome their wobbles at Wembley
LONDON - Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says his side have "something to prove" when they return to Wembley after losing two finals there in the last 12 months.
In May, the Blues lost last season's FA Cup final to Leicester City 1-0 at England's national stadium. In February, they were defeated in this term's League Cup final 11-10 on penalties by Liverpool.
Chelsea have a chance to make amends when they return to the stadium for their FA Cup semi-final against London rivals Crystal Palace on Sunday (April 17).
The game comes after their heartbreaking midweek 5-4 aggregate Champions League quarter-final exit at the hands of Real Madrid, despite winning 3-2 at the Bernabeu.
Said Tuchel: "It helps that we got to Wembley and that we have a knockout game in the FA Cup and something to fight for straight away.
"The next big challenge, and we're so close to a final and so close to another title you can fight for.
"That helps to shift the focus because we have been in a final there already this season, the Carabao Cup final. We've lost both our finals at Wembley. You feel you have something to prove."
While Palace come into the game fresher having not had any midweek exertions, manager Patrick Vieira played down talk that it might give them an advantage.
He said: "You don't feel the tiredness when you play a semi-final of an FA Cup.
"Those Chelsea players will be ready for it. We have to be ready for the fight and we will have to look at how we want to approach the game, follow our game plan and perform on the day.
"But we can't count on Chelsea to be tired because they will not be tired."
He also won't be able to count on midfielder Conor Gallagher, who is unavailable due to the terms of his loan deal from Chelsea.
The 22-year-old is enjoying a breakout season and earned his first England cap in November.
Said Vieira: "It is difficult to find in the squad a player with Conor's type of energy.
"We have different profiles and players who can score goals and create chances maybe more than Conor can do.
"Of course his profile is different, but we have players who are capable of bringing something different to the team."
The Palace boss will make a late call on the availability of two of his other young stars, Tyrick Mitchell and Michael Olise, who have returned to training after injuries.
Chelsea, meanwhile, will be without the injured Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi.