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Don’t run it – Gary Neville sends warning message to Thomas Tuchel ahead of FA Cup final against Liverpool

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Gary Neville has been speaking about Chelsea’s current situation and how the Blues need to “stay alive” ahead of next month’s FA Cup final showdown with Liverpool

Gary Neville has issued a firm warning to Chelsea as the former Manchester United defender told the side to “stay alive” ahead of next month’s FA Cup final with Liverpool. The Blues have been in mixed form recently but picked up a crucial three points against West Ham United on Sunday.

Christian Pulisic was on hand to turn the ball past Lucasz Fabianski and hand Chelsea maximum points on a frustrating afternoon at Stamford Bridge. The Blues struggled to break a stubborn Hammers side down, but their attacking threat came alive late in the match.

Romelu Lukaku won Chelsea a penalty with just minutes to go, but Jorginho saw the resulting spot-kick saved with a tame effort straight at Fabianski. Fortunately for the Italian, though, Pulisic struck in the 90th minute to spare his team-mate’s blushes at the Bridge.

The win for Chelsea means they are in a really strong position when it comes to securing Champions League football for next season. The Blues, who are in third, are now five points above Arsenal (with a game in hand) and seven above Tottenham (also with a game in hand).

There’s still plenty to play for, and Thomas Tuchel and his Chelsea players know it. “I think they [the players] know very well [there’s stuff to play for this season],” Tuchel said after the win over West Ham.

“I think today [the atmosphere] was a bit due to the uncertainty of the last results. Honestly, games like this against West Ham are, in my opinion, very hard to have a hard and spectacular game and full credit [to West Ham].”

Chelsea’s biggest match of the 2021/22 season comes on May 14 when they make the short trip to Wembley to take on Liverpool in the FA Cup final. The match is a repeat of February’s Carabao Cup final, where the Blues were dramatically beaten on penalties by the Reds after Kepa Arrizabalaga sent one over the crossbar.

Tuchel needs to make sure his side are in the best possible condition when the final comes around, with Liverpool, who still have their eyes on the quadruple this season, in red-hot form right now. Neville, when speaking before he saw Chelsea edge past West Ham at the weekend, has warned the reigning European champions that they need to be “alive” for next month’s showdown.

“They need to make sure that the wheels don’t come off in these last few weeks,” Neville said on Sky Sports. “There are some understandable issues at Chelsea. The ownership issue, having 28,000 people in.

“I watched the game against Arsenal, and it did feel a little flat. That performance they put in at Real Madrid a couple of weeks ago and not seeing it through, in the end, will have had a bigger impact on this team.

“They’ve been the third-best team this season, don’t ruin it now. Making sure they stay alive for that FA Cup final, which is a massive game for them, in a few weeks.”

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