Thomas Tuchel has told his Chelsea players next season’s Premier League title challenge will start before the new campaign even kicks off.
Chelsea strengthened their bid for a top-four finish with a 1-0 win against West Ham – but Tuchel and Roman Abramovich expect them to rival Mancehster City next term.
The German coach has made an outstanding start to life at Stamford Bridge, leading his side to the FA Cup Final, Champions League semi-finals and fourth place in the table.
But he is demanding more from his players in his first full season in charge.
“All the performances are a benchmark,” he said. “When we do it now, we want to do it on Tuesday and then Saturday again. This is how we approach our team and how you approach high-level sports.
“You can’t be distracted by too many visions and goals that are too far away. I am very happy with the consistency of quality that we can deliver every three days.
“We play with courage and it is a really high level that we can produce consistently. This is what we demand for Tuesday in all different set ups, whether FA Cup, league or Champions League.
“We demand the same level which is full focus and to reach your own highest level and to play at that level.
“We will demand that next season and no matter what we say next season, no matter what the target is.
“I think the target will then be to win the first match when it arrives and in pre-season we won’t allow anyone to even drop one per cent, not even in friendly matches.
“When you sign up for Chelsea, you sign up to play at the highest level. We have to keep our feet on the ground and work hard.
“We are capable to win and don’t forget you need luck in the match, you need to deserve it of course to have the consistency to win matches.
“I am happy we have reached this crucial stage of the season like this.”