Thomas Tuchel: Chelsea top-four place would ease Champions League pressure

Thomas Tuchel has told Chelsea to ease the pressure ahead of the Champions League final by sealing a top-four Premier League finish on Sunday.

Chelsea will qualify for next term’s Champions League with a win at Aston Villa in Sunday’s Premier League finale, which would achieve the Blues’ main aim for the campaign.

Tuchel’s side will then face favourites Manchester City in the Champions League final in Porto on Saturday, May 29.

When asked if securing Champions League qualification via the league would remove some pressure from the final against City, Tuchel replied: “For sure, for sure. We don’t need to talk around it, for sure it takes some pressure off.

“But when we arrive next week for the Champions League final, when we prepare the final in the last two days, we will not play this final to make it to the Champions League next season.

“This final, we will play 100 per cent no matter what to win the cup. This is it. The side effect (qualification for next season) of course is a crucial one.

“But we want it all. I will not turn it around: we don’t want to play this final to arrive in the top four.

“We’ve put so much hard work, so much quality and a very consistent amount of results into the last few months, that we want to finish the job on Sunday.

“And like I said, we know it’s going to be tough, but we don’t know what awaits us in detail.

“Anything can happen in the 90 minutes of football, and this is what everybody loves about this game.

“Three teams have a chance to catch two places, and so the race is on.”

Chelsea, Liverpool and Leicester all still have the chance to secure Champions League qualification in the Premier League’s final round of fixtures on Sunday.

The Blues will take on Villa in the Midlands, while Liverpool host Crystal Palace and Leicester entertain Tottenham.

Tuchel admitted Chelsea benefited from having their home fans back at Stamford Bridge for Tuesday’s crucial 2-1 win over Leicester.

And the former Paris St Germain boss conceded that Liverpool and Leicester will grab an edge this weekend, when playing in front of their own supporters.

Tuchel also revealed he would be open to receiving score updates from the other relevant matches, should the Blues not be in a commanding position heading into the closing stages.

“For a long period of the game I will for sure be in a bubble,” said Tuchel.

“If in the end there are results that influence the amount of risk we should take, need to take, whatever, because we are not leading, or not comfortable or whatever, then we need to know.

“We also need to be professional. I prefer not to know, but if it’s necessary we need to know then we will, to adapt our risk management during the game.

“First of all we approach the game like the game against Leicester. It’s in our hands, and we can decide things with a win.

“So we prepare to win it, but as you know in a football match there can be a lot of twists and turns, so we have to be ready for everything, both on our pitch and on other pitches.

“It’s an advantage for the home sides to have supporters back, it makes things absolutely more difficult, no doubt about it.

“But it’s so much nicer to play with spectators, and we have all wanted that for so long, so it’s no problem.

“We know it increases the challenge and the adversity, but we are here to step up. We have it in our hands.”

Andreas Christensen will return for Chelsea on Sunday after a leg tendon issue, while Kai Havertz and N’Golo Kante face late fitness tests.

Havertz has battled a muscle problem and Kante a hamstring concern.

“Andreas Christensen will be in the squad,” said Tuchel. “Kai did a test today and will be testing in team training tomorrow.

“And with N’Golo it’s going to be very close. Still some hopes he maybe joins team training tomorrow – but if not then he will join on Monday.”

Source: Read Full Article