Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is one of seven Russian oligarchs whose names have been added to a list of sanctions by the United Kingdom government.

Abramovich has had his assets frozen and cannot pursue his bid to sell the Blues, with the decision made in the wake of Russia's ongoing invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

Chelsea have been granted a special sporting licence to be able to continue trading as a football club, but measures have been placed upon the club including a ban on selling tickets, with only season-ticket holders permitted to attend matches.

A statement from the UK government added: "Given the significant impact that today's sanctions would have on Chelsea Football Club and the potential knock-on effects of this, the government has this morning published a licence which authorises a number of football-related activities to continue at Chelsea.

"This includes permissions for the club to continue playing matches and other football-related activity which will in turn protect the Premier League, the wider football pyramid, loyal fans and other clubs.

"This licence will only allow certain explicitly named actions to ensure the designated individual is not able to circumvent UK sanctions.

"The licence will be kept under constant review and we will work closely with the football authorities."

Antonio Rudiger's future at Chelsea has been the topic of plenty of speculation.

The 29-year-old centre-back has been with the Blues since 2017 when he joined on a five-year deal.

Rudiger is yet to extend his contract with Chelsea, with plenty of interest in the Germany international.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE AND MAN UTD IN FOR RUDIGER

Newcastle United are ready to compete in the race to sign Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, claims the Telegraph.

The Germany international has drawn interest from Real Madrid while the Express reports that Manchester United are also considering a move for the defender.

Rudiger's contract with Chelsea expires at the end of this season, although he has not ruled out staying at Stamford Bridge.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Express claims Harry Kane has informed his Tottenham team-mates that he will remain with the club should they clinch a top-four spot and Champions League football.

Arsenal may move to re-sign Serge Gnabry from Bayern Munich, who previously spent four years with the Gunners, according to Football.London. Gnabry is valued at €75million (£63m).

Arsenal, along with Leicester City, have sent scouts to track Sassuolo forward Domenico Berardi, according to Nicolo Schira. The Italians are asking for €30m for their club captain, with interest from Napoli and Milan also.

- FootMercato claims Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea are considering moves for Manchester City's Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez.

Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United may be coming to a premature end.

The Portuguese forward has struggled since Ralf Rangnick's arrival as interim manager in December.

United are also battling to finish in the Premier League's top four.

TOP STORY - RONALDO COURTS MOVE TO MESSI'S PSG

FootballTransfers claims that Ronaldo has decided that he will leave Manchester United if they do not qualify for the Champions League, with a move to join Lionel Messi at Paris Saint-Germain on his agenda.

Speculation about Ronaldo's future at Old Trafford ramped up after he missed Sunday's Manchester derby due to a hip flexor injury and flew to Portugal.

The report that claims that Ronaldo returning to Juventus has been ruled out, along with his original Portuguese club Sporting CP, with the five-time Ballon d'Or courting a move to Paris.

 

ROUND-UP

- Defensa Central reports that Newcastle United have commenced talks with Real Madrid over a move for 31-year-old ex-Chelsea forward Eden Hazard who has had an underwhelming spell with Los Blancos.

- Manchester United's Marcus Rashford has a list of clubs circling for his services with Arsenal, Newcastle and West Ham all interested, according to 90Min.

- The Mail claims that PSG will make a move for Rashford too, should Kylian Mbappe leave the French capital to join Madrid.

- Manchester City and Madrid are in the lead to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland ahead of Bayern Munich and Barcelona claims The Athletic.

- RB Leipzig midfielder Christopher Nkunku is being tracked by Chelsea and Man City according to FootMercato.

Manchester United's search for a new manager continues after axing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November.

The Red Devils are taking their time with the appointment, with Ralf Rangnick in an interim role until the end of the season.

United hope the next man in can turn their fortunes around, having struggled to be Premier League contenders since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013.

TOP STORY – UNITED SHORTLIST HASENHUTTL

Manchester United have added Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl to their shortlist, according to The Mirror.

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax’s Erik ten Hag remain the front-runners, but United face a battle to persuade either to head to Old Trafford.

Current United interim manager Ralf Rangnick worked with Hasenhuttl at RB Leipzig and the club are admirers of the Austrian.

ROUND-UP

- Atletico Madrid are considering making a move for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, reports Mundo Deportivo. Wijnaldum is weighing up his future at PSG despite moving to France only last year.

- Fabrizio Romano claims Chelsea's Andreas Christensen has turned down offers from other Premier League clubs and is on the verge of agreeing to a deal with Barcelona.

Lazio could make a loan move for Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, with manager Maurizio Sarri keen to be reunited with the Spain international, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- The Sun claims West Ham are plotting a move for Lille's 20-year-old midfielder Amadou Onana, who is valued at £20m by the French club.

Crystal Palace have joined the pursuit for Marseille's out-of-contract midfielder Boubacar Kamara, alongside Newcastle United and West Ham, according to the Sun.

Liverpool closed the gap on leaders Manchester City with victory over West Ham, while Chelsea tightened their grip on third place in Saturday's Premier League action.

The Blues saw off Burnley 4-0 at Turf Moor, a scoreline that was matched by Aston Villa in their statement victory against Southampton.

Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and Brentford also picked up wins, but it was a bad start to life under new management for Leeds in their early kick-off against Leicester City.

Following another eventful day of Premier League action, Stats Perform delves into the key Opta facts from each of the games.

Leeds United 0-1 Leicester City: New manager, same Leeds

Jesse Marsch's first game as Leeds boss ended in defeat to Leicester as United fell to a fifth successive league loss for the first time since April 2015, when they were in the Championship.

Leeds have failed to score in three straight league matches for the first time in a year, this despite registering 19 shots in their latest blank against Leicester.

United's expected goals (xG) return of 1.95 is their highest without scoring in a league game since June 2020, and the familiar failings were also on show at the other end.

Harvey Barnes' second-half winner means Leeds have gone 13 league games without a clean sheet, their longest-such run since 14 without a shutout ending in August 2016.

This was the fifth straight league game Barnes has scored against Leeds – four of those while playing for Leicester and one for West Brom, making them his favourite opponent.

 

Aston Villa 4-0 Southampton: Coutinho's home comforts

Villa are firmly back on track after registering back-to-back victories under Steven Gerrard for the first time since his opening two games in charge in November.

The Villans put four unanswered goals past Southampton at Villa Park for their biggest Premier League win since thrashing Liverpool 7-2 in October 2020.

Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho once again played a big part in the victory by scoring one and assisting another for Douglas Luiz.

Coutinho has now been directly involved in six goals in his first four home league games for Villa, scoring three of his own and setting up as many.

Ollie Watkins had earlier opened the scoring with his 21st Premier League strike since the start of the 2020-21 season, while Danny Ings added to his two assists with Villa's fourth goal.

 

Newcastle United 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Fraser helps end Magpies' duck against Seagulls

For a while things looked incredibly bleak for Newcastle, even after their big-money takeover, but they now find themselves seven points above the relegation zone.

The Magpies held off Brighton to make it eight Premier League games without defeat – no team is on a better such run – with five of those matches ending in victory.

Ryan Fraser opened the scoring to make it two goals in five Premier League outings, matching his tally from his previous 70 appearances, before setting up Fabian Schar.

That was the earliest United have scored twice in a Premier League home game since January 2007 and, despite Lewis Dunk's header, Eddie Howe's side saw out the win.

It marks the first time Newcastle have defeated Brighton in the Premier League in their 10th such encounter, having previously failed to so much as score against them at home.

 

Norwich City 1-3 Brentford: Bees buzzing thanks to Toney treble

After a run of eight Premier League games without a win, Brentford bolstered their survival ambitions with a well-earned victory away at bottom side Norwich.

Ivan Toney was the hero for the Bees with three goals, two of those from the penalty spot, making Brentford the 40th different team to boast a hat-trick scorer.

The Brentford striker now has nine Premier League goals for the season, each of those coming via his right foot.

Teemu Pukki scored a consolation but it was another miserable day for Norwich, whose goal difference of -42 is the worst at this stage since Derby County in 2007-08 (-44).

Not that it will matter a great deal in the grand scheme of things, but Brentford are the first team Pukki has scored home and away against in a single Premier League season.

 

Wolves 0-2 Crystal Palace: Shaky Wanderers lose again

Wolves' European hopes suffered another blow as they fell to a third successive Premier League defeat, as many as they lost in their previous 13.

Bruno Lage's out-of-form side have now conceded six goals in their last four league games, after shipping just five in 12 before that.

Jean-Philippe Mateta came up with the breakthrough from close range for his fourth goal in eight Premier League starts, and Wilfried Zaha doubled Palace's lead from the penalty spot.

Ivory Coast international Zaha has now been directly involved in 83 goals in the competition, the joint-ninth best total for an African player, level with Nwankwo Kanu.

With this latest loss, it is the first time Wolves have lost three games in a row against Palace in their entire league history.

 

Burnley 0-4 Chelsea: Blues cruise at Turf Moor

It was business as usual for Chelsea as they won for a third Premier League game running without conceding in what proved to be a straightforward victory at lowly Burnley.

The Blues scored all four of their goals in the second half as they enjoyed their biggest away league win since October 2018 when also beating Burnley by the same scoreline.

This was the biggest margin of victory for an away side in a game that was goalless at half-time since Tottenham beat Aston Villa 4-0 in December 2012.

Reece James started the scoring and in the process became the first defender from Europe's top five leagues to both score and assist five goals this term in all competitions.

Kai Havertz also netted twice before Christian Pulisic added some gloss to the scoreline – his fourth goal at Turf Moor, matching a record for an away player set by Tottenham's Harry Kane.

 

Liverpool 1-0 West Ham: Reds roll on thanks to Mane

Sadio Mane's first-half goal made it seven wins in a row for Liverpool in the Premier League, their best such streak since a run of 18 when they claimed the title two years ago.

That close-range finish was Mane's 12th of the season in the league, nine of those coming at Anfield – no player has scored more home goals in the division this season.

Trent Alexander-Arnold played the ball into the box for Mane's goal for his 16th assist in all competitions this term, more than he has ever registered in a single campaign.

Liverpool were not at their best and that was particularly true of Mohamed Salah, who failed to score from six shots – only against Stoke in April 2018 (seven) has he fared worse.

Incredibly, Virgil van Dijk has never been on the losing side for Liverpool in 60 Premier League home games at Anfield, setting a new record in that regard.

 

Manchester United's search for a permanent manager continues to take up plenty of column inches, with a new name now entering the mix.

Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax chief Erik ten Hag have long been considered the two frontrunners to take over at Old Trafford.

But a somewhat surprise candidate is now reportedly being considered to succeed interim manager Ralf Rangnick on a short-term basis at the end of the campaign.


TOP STORY – ANCELOTTI A CONTENDER FOR UNITED

According to ESPN, United may look to appoint Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti as they explore contingency plans in their pursuit of a new manager.

While Pochettino and Ten Hag remain on the Red Devils' managerial shortlist, Ancelotti is said to be seen as an ideal short-term fix thanks to his vast experience.

The Italian has previously spent time in English football with Everton and Chelsea, winning a Premier League and FA Cup with the latter in 2009-10.

Ancelotti is currently in his second spell with Madrid and has another two seasons to run on his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.


ROUND-UP

- PSG have offered Kylian Mbappe a contract worth €50million a year to fend off interest from rival clubs, according to Le Parisian. Madrid are the strong favourites to sign the France international should he depart the Parc des Princes as a free agent in July.

- Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta are also set to be out of contract at Chelsea in the next few months and are not short of potential suitors. Mundo Deportivo reports that Barcelona are confident of signing the pair, while Ajax's Noussair Mazraoui and Jose Gaya of Valencia are also targets.

- Madrid are hoping to replace Dani Carvajal at right-back ahead of next season and have a few potential options already lined up. That is according to El Nacional, with Man Utd's Diogo Dalot, Norwich City's Max Aarons and Pedro Porro of Sporting CP all mentioned.

- Sport claims that Barcelona are on course to wrap up contract extensions for Ronald Araujo and Gavi before the end of the month. Rising star Gavi will supposedly be offered a five-year deal that will include a mammoth release clause to ensure he stays at Camp Nou for the long term.

- Former Germany international Julian Weigl is nearing the end of his time at Benfica and has been offered to teams across the continent, according to Calciomercato. The Italian outlet suggests than Milan would prefer to sign Renato Sanches, potentially giving Roma a clear run for the €35m-rated midfielder.

Thomas Tuchel says he does not know what impact Roman Abramovich's announcement that he will sell Chelsea will have on the club after his side overcame Luton Town 3-2 in the FA Cup.

Abramovich on Wednesday confirmed he will sell up after 19 years as owner of the European champions, saying the decision is "in the best interest of the club".

The Russian stated that he will ask for any loans to be repaid and has instructed his team to set up a charitable foundation, where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. Abramovich revealed the foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.

Tuchel's side were later caught cold on the pitch at Kenilworth Road on a huge day for the Blues, as Reece Burke and Harry Cornick edged Championship Luton ahead either side of Saul Niguez's equaliser.

However, Timo Werner's second-half strike restored parity before Romelu Lukaku delivered the decisive strike.

But the focus after the game turned back to Abramovich's announcement, and Tuchel stated that it would be impossible for him to know what will happen following what the club's owner described as "an incredibly difficult decision" for him.

"Maybe I heard it a little bit earlier than you, but still it was close to kick-off," Tuchel told the BBC when asked about the situation at the Premier League club.

"We heard the rumours throughout the day, of course, it is on television when we have team meetings and the guys are talking about it, everybody talks about it - it is big news.

"Let's wait and see, hope for the best and see what the day brings. Every decision he takes for the club is the right decision, it's his choice, it's his club and it's not on me to comment."

When pushed for an answer on what the news could mean in the short term, Tuchel responded: "Even if I want to [tell you], I don't exactly know. 

"In the very short term, for us as a team, staff and players, hopefully it won't mean too much and maybe change nothing but the situation is now out there, it's a big situation. 

"I can understand that there will be a lot of reports, but we try to cancel the noise, as we always do, and to stay focused, which is not always easy.

"We showed again that we can do it and we will try again on Saturday [against Burnley]."

A much-changed Chelsea were largely unconvincing against Nathan Jones' Championship side but Tuchel was delighted with a performance that meant more in the circumstances.

Asked if the result was of greater significance with the ongoings off the field, Tuchel added: "Yeah I think so, we're not living on an island - the guys have an internet connection, the TV is running and we see the news and the rumours.

"It is not normal to be so attached to something and play on the same day in a match where focus is absolutely key, to win is not so easy but it makes it a bigger performance and that is why I'm very happy."

Romelu Lukaku scored the winner to secure Chelsea's place in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a battling 3-2 win at Luton Town, after Blues owner Roman Abramovich announced he was selling the club.

Abramovich confirmed he had put Chelsea up for sale, saying the decision is "in the best interest of the club" before kick-off and Thomas Tuchel's side started slowly on the pitch on Wednesday.

Saul Niguez cancelled out Reece Burke's second-minute opener against a much-changed Blues side, but Harry Cornick restored Championship side Luton's lead in the first half at Kenilworth Road.

Timo Werner equalised after the interval, before teeing up Lukaku with 12 minutes left to ensure Chelsea's place in the last eight, which will be played on March 19.

 

Burke glanced a header into the top-right corner from Luke Berry's corner after just 102 seconds – the fastest goal Chelsea have conceded in all competitions this season.

Tuchel's side levelled things up after 27 minutes when the ball fell kindly for Saul to curl into the bottom-right corner, before substitute goalkeeper Harry Isted expertly denied Saul, Kenedy and Romelu Lukaku within a frantic four-minute period.

Luton regained the lead after Malang Sarr's unconvincing offside trap allowed Cornick in to finish past Kepa Arrizabalaga following Carlos Mendes Gomes' throughball. 

Chelsea boasted 82 per cent possession in the first 15 minutes after the interval, but their reward did not arrive until the 68th minute when Werner poked past Isted after a superb Ruben Loftus-Cheek long pass.

Werner turned provider for the winning goal, when he found space inside the area and drilled across for Lukaku to apply the finish with a sliding tap-in.

Frank Lampard backed Everton's decision to cut all commercial ties with Russian companies following the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The Toffees suspended their commercial sponsorship arrangements with Russian firms owned by billionaire Alisher Usmanov, and Lampard said they had made the correct decision as it "felt right for the club".

Everton are among a growing list of organisations to have distanced themselves from Russian sponsorship in a show of support for Ukraine.

Lampard, whose players carried Ukrainian flags onto the pitch ahead of their clash with Manchester City on Saturday, told reporters: "As I interviewed with the board and [having] a close relationship with the board, I have absolute faith that they are making the right decisions, as they see them, in the right way.

"The way we behaved last Saturday against Manchester City, I thought we were one of the forerunners of behaving well and showing solidarity and unity in the right way.

"I think [cutting ties with Russian sponsors] again is a show of us as a club doing the right thing. And it's a suspension, as the statement said today. And I think it was the right thing to do.

"At that point for me, it's very important I concentrate on football and the things I'm paid to do, which is to try and obviously win the game in front of us."

Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich announced on Wednesday that he would be selling the club but Lampard said he had no comment on his former club's situation.

Lampard won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups as a player at Chelsea, before rejoining them for a spell as manager, but he said he knew nothing of the internal workings at Stamford Bridge now.

"I only read what you read. I'm not at Chelsea any more," said Lampard. "I had an amazing time at Chelsea.

"If I say that you take as you find, I can only be very thankful that I was in the period of the club which Roman Abramovich came into and changed the face of it and on a football level we were very successful.

"I had absolute support in my time as a player and as a manager, for what anyone wants to think from the outside.

"I've got no comment on them now. I'm Everton manager and I don't have enough knowledge to give anything more than that."

Roman Abramovich has announced he is to sell Chelsea, saying the decision is "in the best interest of the club".

The Russian also confirmed he is setting up a charitable foundation to benefit "all victims of the war in Ukraine", to which he will donate all net proceeds of the sale of the Premier League club.

In a statement published via Chelsea's website, Abramovich confirmed the sale "will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process", adding he will not be asking for loans to be repaid by the club.

"This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and club," he said.

"Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the club.

"I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person. It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart."

Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, has come under intense scrutiny in the past week following Russia's invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

The 55-year-old oligarch has been photographed with Russian president Vladimir Putin in the past, and while it was claimed last week that Abramovich has no involvement in politics, a spokesperson for the Blues' owner suggested to the Press Association on Monday that he was "trying to help" achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Russian businesses and high-profile individuals have been hit with crippling financial sanctions by nations all over the world since the attack began last Thursday.

It is unclear if Abramovich has been impacted directly yet, but on Saturday he announced he was giving "trustees of Chelsea's charitable foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea", a move that shocked English football despite there being very little clarity as to what exactly it actually meant.

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss told Blick he had received an offer to bid for Chelsea this week but would only be interested in buying the club as part of a group of "six to seven investors".

Chelsea have enjoyed an unrivalled period of success across Roman Abramovich's near two decades as owner at Stamford Bridge.

From their five Premier Leagues and two Champions Leagues, plus last month's Club World Cup triumph, the Blues have won it all under the Russian billionaire.

But amid mounting political pressure following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Abramovich is reportedly open to selling Chelsea for the first time.


TOP STORY – THREE PARTIES INTERESTED IN BLUES 

According to The Telegraph, at least three parties are circling Chelsea in the belief that Abramovich is ready to walk away.

Abramovich announced on Saturday, a day before the Blues' EFL Cup final loss to Liverpool, that he is taking a step back from his duties as owner.

The report indicates that Chelsea are bracing themselves for bids as early as this week as a changing of the guard at Stamford Bridge becomes a realistic possibility.


ROUND-UP

- Manchester City have ramped up their interest in Borussia Dortmund's in-demand striker Erling Haaland, according to The Express. City chief Txiki Begiristain is said to have recently met with agent Mino Raiola to discuss the signing of Haaland.

- Ralf Rangnick has been ruled out of the running to become Manchester United's next permanent boss. The Sun claims that Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag, in charge of Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax respectively, are the two men being considered.

- Sky Sports News reports that Antonio Rudiger's representatives remain in constant dialogue with Real Madrid and PSG over an end-of-season transfer. Chelsea want to keep hold of the defender, but they have been unable to agree fresh terms. 

- According to football.london, Arsenal are eager to reward Bukayo Saka with a new deal at the end of the campaign. The England international is already under contract at Emirates Stadium until July 2024.

- Atletico Madrid midfielder Hector Herrera will see out the remainder of the 2021-22 LaLiga campaign before making the switch to Houston Dynamo in MLS, Fabrizio Romano suggests. Herrera has made 14 appearances this term and is a regular for Mexico.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel became irritated with journalists after repeated questions regarding the crisis in Ukraine and his club's owner, Roman Abramovich.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday and the conflict continues to escalate.

The world of sport has responded strongly, with several sanctions placed on Russian sporting federations and teams. In football, FIFA and UEFA have banned Russian sides from competing in their tournaments, while European football's governing body has also stripped St Petersburg of this season's Champions League final.

Abramovich, meanwhile, has been mentioned as an individual who may be sanctioned by the British government.

On Thursday, Abramovich's name was brought up in the United Kingdom Houses of Parliament as possible sanctions against the Russian state and individuals were discussed.

Such sanctions are yet to be placed on the Russian-Israeli businessman, though Abramovich announced he was handing over the "stewardship and care" of Chelsea to the trustees of its charitable foundation on Saturday.

On Monday, a spokesperson for Abramovich told PA that the 55-year-old was attempting to assist peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

The subject dominated Tuchel's news conference on Tuesday, ahead of Chelsea's FA Cup tie with Luton Town, and eventually the former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund coach grew frustrated.

"You have to stop. I am not a politician. Honestly, I can only repeat it," he said. "I even feel bad to repeat it, to talk about it. I have never experienced war. 

"I am feeling very privileged, I sit here in peace. I do the best I can. You have to stop asking me these questions. I have no answers to you.

"You always start the question with the same sentence: 'There's much more important things than football, can you comment?'. You decide also to ask me about war. 

"How often do I need to say it? It's horrible. There cannot be any other opinion about it. That's it. Why should we be more distracted than you at work?"

Tuchel's hope is for he and his team to be able to focus on football.

"It's out there. There's more important things out there. This will never change. It's about sports," he continued.

"There's a lot more important things out there. Still, there is a huge distraction going on. We are worried. 

"In the end we try and create an atmosphere to come to work, which is our passion. We are very, very grateful and privileged to have it and it's not that big of a problem. 

"Everybody in Europe has some noise in his head that nobody likes. Maybe the same for you but still you try to do your job as good as possible, the same for us."

Thomas Tuchel called for calm and insisted it is business as usual on the pitch following Russian owner Roman Abramovich's decision to pass stewardship to Chelsea's trustees.

Abramovich announced on Saturday, a day before the Blues' EFL Cup final penalty shoot-out loss to Liverpool, that he is taking a step back from his involvement with the club.

That announcement came three days after Russia began its military invasion of Ukraine to widespread international condemnation.

But ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Luton Town, Tuchel is not letting talk surrounding Abramovich – and wider events in Ukraine – distract his players.

"We try to be calm here," he said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference. "We are calm in the centre of a storm or some noise around us we cannot control. 

"We are not responsible for it. In the end it's best to stay calm and focus on what we love and what we do. This is sports. 

"We have a right to focus on sports, the players have a right to be focused. This is what we can tell the fans, I think this is what the fans saw on Sunday. 

"There is a big situation out there. A lot of commitment from the players of both clubs, from the fans. I think everybody is aware there are more important things. 

"The situation in Ukraine is by far much more important than football. Still, there was a full stadium. Still, we arrived two teams, strong teams, who played a fantastic match. 

"This is what we can do for the fans, to distract them and entertain them. To do what we do with maximum effort and commitment. 

"I don't see any other solution what we can do different."

Probed further on events that are escalating in Ukraine, and whether Abramovich should remain the owner of Chelsea, Tuchel grew irritated with the line of questioning.

"You have to stop. I am not a politician. Honestly, I can only repeat it," he said. "I even feel bad to repeat it, to talk about it. I have never experienced war. 

"I am feeling very privileged, I sit here in peace. I do the best I can. You have to stop asking me these questions. I have no answers to you.

"You always start the question with the same sentence: 'There's much more important things than football, can you comment?'. You decide also to ask me about war. 

"How often do I need to say it? It's horrible. There cannot be any other opinion about it. That's it. Why should we be more distracted than you at work? 

"That's what I mean when I said it in the first place. It's out there. There's more important things out there. This will never change. It's about sports. 

"There's a lot more important things out there. Still, there is a huge distraction going on. We are worried. 

"In the end we try and create an atmosphere to come to work, which is our passion. We are very, very grateful and privileged to have it and it's not that big of a problem. 

"Everybody in Europe has some noise in his head that nobody likes. Maybe the same for you but still you try to do your job as good as possible, the same for us."

Chelsea's six-match winning run in all competitions was ended with Sunday's defeat to Liverpool at Wembley, albeit in a game that finished goalless at the end of 120 minutes.

The Blues now have a second game in the space of four days as they head into an FA Cup tie at second-tier Luton.

After suffering a rare defeat in a major final, Tuchel is hopeful his side can quickly respond this week.

"It should not be too hard to lift the team after Sunday," he said. "Everybody knows we played a strong match to our identity, with full commitment and a lot of quality. 

"You can never control the result. A winner had to be found and it was found after 22 penalties. That tells the story. That should not be the problem. 

"It's only two days. We gave a day off to clear our minds. It was not only a disappointment but physically training, demanding. 

"That leaves us with a one day turnaround to be ready for tomorrow. It's another competition; that's life at Chelsea. 

"We want to be competitive, we want to be in different competitions, so we have to be ready. Is that always easy? Maybe not. 

"This is what we do, what we demand. From me, myself and everybody around the team, last but not least from the players. This is where we are."

Tuchel confirmed that Chelsea have a "massive list" of absentees ahead of facing the Hatters, with Hakim Ziyech among those out of contention for Wednesday's contest.

Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson both hailed Liverpool's "special" EFL Cup triumph over Chelsea after sealing a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory on Sunday.

An enthralling final that saw both teams have goals disallowed had to be settled from the spot, and after a run of 21 successful spot-kicks, Chelsea's substitute goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga blazed over the bar to hand the Reds record success in the competition.

Van Dijk netted the Red's third kick of the shoot-out but he was instrumental in another of the match's key turning points.

Joel Matip had a second-half goal disallowed after his centre-back partner was ruled offside when blocking defender Reece James.

Speaking to Sky Sports after lifting the trophy, Van Dijk praised his team's maturity and work-rate but expressed his confusion at the decision to disallow Matip's goal.

"[It was] very special," the 30-year-old said of the victory.

"There was a lot of hard work, as we expected before the game, a lot of calm nerves [needed]. The penalties overall were all quite good apart from the last one [from Kepa].

"We have matured and been through quite a lot over the last two seasons, the way we play and additions we have made.

"It was an intense game and offside goals were also a thing, and that rule of playing on until whenever [when an offside call is tight] is annoying. It is something we have to consider taking out for next season.

"I told the ref I don't understand [the offside decision]. I wasn't even participating, the ball went over my head and I did not even go for the ball. It is a game of challenges, and you are allowed to block a move. 

"I think when Manchester United played away at Burnley [in a Premier League draw earlier this month], there was a similar thing that was also disallowed and I don't understand it."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was delighted that his decision to start back-up goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher in the EFL Cup final paid off.

Kelleher became the youngest goalkeeper to start an EFL Cup final since 2011 after Klopp kept faith with him for the showdown with Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday.

A thrilling final went to spot-kicks after a pulsating two hours of football ended goalless, with both sides missing a plethora of chances.

In a high-quality penalty shoot-out, Kelleher slotted home the 21st successful spot-kick in a row, before opposite number Kepa Arrizabalaga – who had only come on for penalties – cleared the crossbar with his own kick, resulting in an 11-10 Liverpool victory in the shoot-out as they sealed a record ninth EFL Cup success.

Speaking to Sky Sports after lifting the trophy, Klopp said that Kelleher deserved his moment in the spotlight.

"I think even in professional football, there should be some space for sentiment, to be honest," Klopp said.

"He is a young boy, we ask him to do a lot in the competition to get us to the final, and then I [should] tell him 'you won't play'?

"I'm two things, a professional football manager and a human being, and the human being won.

"It's so nice that it paid off, he deserves it.

"When I told Ali [regular goalkeeper Allison] that he would not play, at the training centre we have a wall showing all the goalkeepers are who won something [in the club's history]. He said 'great, let's win and put Caoimhin on there as well!'

"That's exactly how it should be, it's absolutely great."

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