- Dortmund coach Tuchel aiming for Europe.
- Injuries a reason for inconsistencies.
- Predecessor Klopp is incomparable.
In an interview with German broadcaster Westdeutscher Rundfunk from Borussia Dortmund's training camp in Marbella, head coach Thomas Tuchel discussed his side's form, his relationship with the club and former mentor Jürgen Klopp.
Dortmund have spent the winter break in sixth place, having won just seven of their 16 games so far. Despite being short of their blistering form from the 2015/16 campaign, Tuchel still believes his side can achieve their aims of UEFA Champions League qualification, so long as they improve: "We have to at least finish in the top three. We have to maintain our determination in our attacking play, but we also need to be more watchful in defence without losing our potency up front."
Watch: Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tops the scoring charts after 16 matches:
Although Die Schwarz-Gelben have kept just three clean sheets this campaign, 43-year-old Tuchel does not blame his players. He believes that Dortmund's misfortune with injuries has been a big reason for their lack of consistency: "We need fit players. You could see when we had Sven Bender and Marco Reus back how effective we were. But it's also about finding the right balance between attack and defence. As well as the necessary attentiveness, we also have to be relaxed and learn from mistakes."
"We were surprised ourselves how good the start was. But then came the injuries and with it the turmoil of losing key players.” Thomas Tuchel
Tuchel also speaks in glowing terms about his relationship with the Dortmund hierarchy. Of his work with chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke and sporting director Michael Zorc, Tuchel says, "We have a top professional and friendly relationship. We also have constructive exchanges." But when it comes to talk of his contract, the BVB coach is much more withdrawn: "Watzke and Zorc know I'm a bad negotiating partner during a season, but I’m relaxed and am still only in the first half of my contract."
The former 1. FSV Mainz 05 coach is also eager to play down comparisons between himself and predecessor Jürgen Klopp, whose path he followed from Mainz to Dortmund. "Few things are as unfair as being compared to Jürgen Klopp. I know very few people who have such a strong effect on others as Jürgen."