Chelsea want to be the team nobody wants to play in the Champions League quarter-finals – Tuchel

By Sports Desk March 16, 2022

Thomas Tuchel says he wants Chelsea to be the side that everyone aims to avoid heading into the Champions League quarter-finals.

The reigning champions kept their title defence on track on Wednesday by advancing to the last eight with a 4-1 aggregate victory over Lille.

Leading 2-0 from the first leg at Stamford Bridge three weeks ago, Tuchel's side fell behind at Stade Pierre-Mauroy to a Burak Yilmaz penalty.

However, Christian Pulisic responded in first-half stoppage time, before Cesar Azpilicueta completed the turnaround with 19 minutes remaining.

Tuchel is hopeful his side will have the fear factor in the quarter-final draw, which takes place on Friday.

The head coach also heaped praise on skipper Azpilicueta, whose last Champions League goal also came against Lille back in December 2019.

"I want us to be the team nobody wants to play," Tuchel said. "That's the role we want to see ourselves in this last eight.

"[Azpilicueta] is maybe the perfect example to describe a person as a leader. He is doing it in good times and bad times, if he is a regular starter or not. 

"If he is playing a wing-back, which is maybe not his best position, he is there. We do not need extra, extra at the moment; we just need reliable teamwork and reliable spirit.

"I don't know if Azpi is talking to the players; I just know he is doing what he normally does."

Chelsea are back in action on Sunday, when they travel to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

The build-up to the tie was dominated by the club requesting that home supporters also be blocked from attending the Riverside, after restrictions imposed following the sanctioning of owner Roman Abramovich rendered them unable to sell any tickets beyond the 600 already sold from their away allocation.

The Blues subsequently withdrew the request, which had been met with widespread ridicule and opposition, with Tuchel also welcoming that decision.

"We love to play in front of spectators and I don't think the spectators of our opponents should suffer from the consequences," he added. "We love to play in front of spectators. 

"Me and the team were not involved in this decision. We were happy it was withdrawn."

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