regular-article-logo Friday, 23 February 2024

Champions League: To advance is Chelsea’s motto, come what may

The club’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the government while the Premier League has also disqualified him as a director

Reuters Published 16.03.22, 12:44 AM
Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel.

Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel. File Photo

Chelsea are dealing with the British government’s restrictions on their operations in a professional manner and will do whatever it takes to advance in their Champions League last-16 second leg tie at Lille on Wednesday, coach Thomas Tuchel said.

Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the government while the Premier League has also disqualified him as a director. Under the terms of a licence issued by the government, Chelsea’s operations are limited in scope.


Tuchel said the European champions had to make adjustments in how many staff are travelling and staying in Lille and that such discussions had never taken place before, with an operations team taking care of all their needs.

“We have to deal with it. There are new things to talk about, like how to arrive at games. Things that are normally taken care of,” Tuchel told reporters on the eve of the return leg in France, with Chelsea leading 2-0 from the first game.

“We have a framework to go to Lille and play in Lille. There will be no excuses. It’s already more difficult to arrange things in the best way possible for the FA Cup (quarter-final at Middlesbrough on Saturday).

“As long as we have shirts, as long as we are alive, we will arrive, be competitive and fight hard for our success. “We owe it to the people who normally support us ...

Of course, we’re in the spotlight but this is our responsibility.”

Tuchel added that he did not have a choice in being the voice of the club in a tumultuous two-week period and said he would continue to face questions about any new owner.

“A new owner needs to arrive, needs to be approved, and then be allowed to own the football club. Then we can discuss about it, if it’s necessary,” he said. “There is a process how you become an owner in this league, and of course... everybody relies on the process and the values which are behind the decisions and allowance to run a club.

“I don’t think too much about it (being the voice of the club). I try to be honest, give you an insight and give you information from a coach’s heart. This is what I try and what you can rely on.”

Chelsea fans have been urged by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson not to chant for Abramovich, terming it “completely inappropriate” under the circumstances, but Tuchel said he did not want to comment on the matter.

Emery’s wish

Villarreal coach Unai Emery wants his side to be remembered for their accomplishments in this season’s Champions League starting with a win in their last-16 match at Juventus on Wednesday.

The teams are level at 1-1 after the first leg in Spain.

“We don’t want Villarreal to be something ephemeral in the Champions League, we want to be here to stay,” Emery told a news conference on Tuesday.

“Winning against a club like Juventus means the opportunity to keep competing at the European level. We want to build around defined structures so we can stay here long-term... It’s wonderful to be in the Champions League and we don’t want to leave.”

Emery expects a very different contest from the first leg in Spain, adding: “They (Juventus ) are used to living with the obligation to win, that’s why they are the biggest team in Italy.”

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