Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Chelsea will be unable to keep hold of Antonio Rudiger, who has asked to leave the club.

Reports in the media this week claimed that Rudiger – whose contract expires at the end of the season – had turned down the offer of a new deal and had decided to leave for pastures new.

Tuchel has now revealed those reports were correct. Real Madrid, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are among the clubs said to have an interest in the centre-back.

And, due to the sanctions imposed on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich by the United Kingdom government in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Tuchel explained that the club have been unable to up their offer.

Rudiger sat out Chelsea's 1-0 win over West Ham on Sunday due to injury and after the match, Tuchel told Sky Sports: "The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He informed me of this in a private talk.

"We gave everything – me and the club – but we could not fight anymore because of the sanctions. Without the sanctions, we would at least be able to carry on fighting, but our hands are tied. We don't take it personally. It is his decision.

"He is a key figure and will stay that way until the end of the season. But it is disappointing. We will miss him a lot.

"He gives courage in the dressing room. The kind everyone is afraid of, but the kind to play 50-55 games at an outstanding level. He [has been] a top defender in the last one and a half years for me. We then need to find another solution."

Christian Pulisic's last-minute strike snatched a victory for Chelsea against West Ham, as they snapped a two-game losing streak at Stamford Bridge.

It was another below-par performance from the Blues, however, with Jorginho seeing a terrible penalty saved just before Pulisic scored the winner.

"It feels like a giant step. We have some games in hand. It was necessary and I am glad," said Tuchel, whose side are now five points clear of fourth-placed Arsenal, with a trip to Old Trafford coming up on Thursday.

"The atmosphere is like this in the dressing room. We also deserved a bit of luck after the last results and how they were created here in our stadium.

"A big game now coming in Manchester. A good feeling with a late win. It lifts everybody's mood."

Jorginho had converted each of his last 13 penalties for Chelsea (excluding in shoot-outs), with this being his first failure to score from the spot for the Blues since Boxing Day 2020 versus Arsenal, though got his attempt all wrong this time around.

"It works for us normally 100 per cent," said Tuchel. "It can happen. Hopefully, it is an unusual thing. He is disappointed but happy we could turn it around."

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has refused suggestions that a lack of effort has hampered the Blues at Stamford Bridge, although he admits he is struggling to explain their poor home form.

Having fallen to a 4-2 home defeat against Arsenal on Wednesday, Tuchel's men have lost three consecutive games at Stamford Bridge after a 4-1 Premier League loss to Brentford and a 3-1 Champions League quarter-final reverse to Real Madrid earlier this month.

Chelsea host West Ham on Sunday, looking to solidify their grasp on third place in the Premier League after losing just one of their last 15 home league games against the Irons (10 wins, four draws).

Although unsure as to what was causing the Blues' Stamford Bridge woes, Tuchel refused suggestions that a lack of effort was to blame.

The 48-year-old also insisted it was normal for elite players to feel less "tension" during regular league games than in European knockout games, having watched the Blues make multiple defensive errors in their defeat to the Gunners.

"It comes back to me because I should push them and make them alert," Tuchel said. "It's human to be tired, human to be more alert in a knockout game than a normal match. Sometimes it's also good, the foundation to be able to play 60 games.

"I remember at Mainz [Tuchel's first senior management role] with one game a week, every game was like a cup final. On a Saturday, we gave 150 per cent physically but also mentally, the players were drained until Tuesday. 

"Once I stepped into being coach at Borussia Dortmund, I saw that players gave everything physically on a normal match but mentally it was not the same stress level as for players at Mainz. They were capable of playing more games.

"It's a thin line in judging – that's why lazy is the wrong word. But it's okay to feel less tension in a normal match in the Premier League and a home match than if you go to the Bernabeu. 

"It's normal because it is maybe less tension, less excitement, less pressure. But it cannot lead to being less alert. This can never happen.

"I don't know what it is [causing Chelsea's poor home form]. If it was just the one thing, we would switch dressing rooms or take another hotel or something like this.

"But that would maybe be more superstition than anything else. I have no solution, but it's also not the level that we want to produce in home games."

Chelsea have secured 26 points from a possible 45 in their 15 home Premier League games this season (seven wins, five draws, three defeats). Away from Stamford Bridge, Tuchel's team have taken 36 points from 16 games (11 wins, three draws, two losses).

The Blues' attempts to rectify their poor home displays could be buoyed, however, by the poor travelling record of Sunday's visitors, with West Ham failing to win a Premier League game on their travels since beating Crystal Palace on January 1, recording one draw and four defeats on the road since then.

Thomas Tuchel admits he has been left "very tired" by Chelsea's hectic programme and puzzled by their dreadful form at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues head coach said the demands since the international break have put him under strain, and he described Chelsea's form as "fragile".

While Tuchel appreciates managing the busy run of games is all part of the job, he is concerned by the rapidly rising number of costly individual errors that have crept into his team's performances.

Since Chelsea's players returned from national duty at the end of March, they have done well on their travels but suffered three painful home defeats.

They have lost 4-1 to Brentford and 4-2 to Arsenal at home in the Premier League, as well as going down 3-1 to Real Madrid, while a 6-0 win at Southampton provided relief before Chelsea were 3-2 victors after extra time against Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

That result ended Chelsea's Champions League campaign as they exited 5-4 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, but a 2-0 win at Wembley against Crystal Palace has set up an FA Cup final clash with Liverpool.

Consistency is painfully lacking, and with off-field issues an inevitable distraction as the club seeks new ownership, it is little wonder Tuchel feels a touch weary.

"I felt very tired after Real Madrid and after the turnaround: Southampton away, Real Madrid away, and another away game at Wembley," Tuchel said.

"It was tiring, and I felt it and asked myself what signals should I give."

Tuchel, whose team tackle West Ham on Sunday, said he does not "feel the same level of excitement before every match", but stressed that did not mean less effort goes into preparation.

He pointed to Chelsea's recent defensive record as an area of considerable concern.

"We have a bit of a bad mix of big individual mistakes and a bit of lack of quality in the one-on-one defensive attitude and behaviour in the box and around the box," Tuchel said.

"We get punished for it heavily. I'm not so sure I have an explanation why. The expected goals we conceded since the national break is a bit higher than normal.

"It's about tactics, high pressing, deep pressing, how chances are created, to keep the expected goals as low as possible."

Since the international break, Chelsea have conceded 13 times from an expected goals against (xGA) tally of 8.92.

This does not follow the pattern of their season as a whole. Including all competitions, they have an xGA of 61.43 but have conceded only 45 times.

Of the seven errors they have made leading to a goal in this campaign, four of those have come in the last three weeks.

"Most of the time in football it's a mixture of circumstances and bad luck, and the opponent making the very most of what we offer them," Tuchel said.

"We lack the real determination and attitude on the one-on-one in the box to maybe keep the actual goals under the expected goals."

Chelsea will put their home form up for scrutiny again as the Hammers visit this weekend. Tuchel's team have just seven wins from 15 Premier League home assignments this season, the fewest victories of all sides in the top seven.

Away from home, only Manchester City (12) have won more games than Chelsea (11) in the Premier League.

Tuchel joked that Chelsea could perhaps switch dressing rooms at home or choose another hotel before home games, if they were a superstitious team.

"I have no solution, but this is not the level we hope to produce in home games," he said. "It's a bit fragile at the moment, I have to say. It can happen that a feeling creeps in that you don't want to have in a home game.

"We have a row of three home games with very similar results that we absolutely don't like. It's now the job to convince the players to keep on going, supporters to keep on pushing, and hang on in positively. Don't get superstitious now and don't believe in things that are not there."

Thomas Tuchel declared himself a big fan of Serena Williams and Lewis Hamilton after the superstar pair joined a consortium bidding to buy Chelsea.

British motorsport star Hamilton, 37, has earned nearly $500million in his Formula One career, while American tennis great Williams has also acquired major wealth while landing 23 grand slam singles titles.

They will reportedly be chipping in $10m each to Martin Broughton's consortium and have been "constantly in touch", Hamilton said, about the prospect of being part of a successful quest to acquire the Premier League club.

Hamilton, despite being an Arsenal fan, said businessman Broughton's ambitions for Chelsea were "incredibly exciting, and very much aligned with my values".

Chelsea head coach Tuchel said on Friday: "I just heard it, I just got a briefing and heard it.

"I can tell you no more than I'm a big admirer of both of them. They are fantastic personalities on the court and the racetrack.

"They are outstanding sports figures in what they do, for which they have my biggest respect, but I have absolutely no insight in the role they're playing."

Chelsea's long-time owner Roman Abramovich, who has been sanctioned by the United Kingdom government following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, announced his intentions to sell the Premier League club earlier in March.

Cesar Azpilicueta confronted a fan after Chelsea's 4-2 loss to Arsenal and Thomas Tuchel understood why the supporter was angry. 

Chelsea suffered their third straight home defeat in all competitions on Wednesday and the Chelsea captain approached an individual in the stands after the final whistle. 

Timo Werner and Azpilicueta cancelled out first-half strikes from Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe, but the Blues went on to suffer a bitter defeat. 

Azpilicueta's stray pass preceded Nketiah scoring a second, while he gave away a penalty that Bukayo Saka converted in stoppage time to leave Chelsea just five points clear of the fifth-placed Gunners. 

The Blues have now lost three straight home games in all competitions for the first time since November 1993, while December 1989 was when they previously conceded at least four goals in successive home league matches.

Still, Azpilicueta was seemingly angered by the response of the fans and approached a group of spectators, with one appearing to hold their hands up in apology. 

Asked about the incident, Tuchel said: "I saw it. Honestly, I can understand the fan. 

"It was a totally wild and open game in the first half – already a 2-2 after we came back twice. We had a good start but again gave the first goal away which is impossible to do these things in consecutive matches. But we're doing it. 

"We came back twice and we scored another two in the second half, unfortunately for the wrong side. 

"It's the level of mistakes, the number of mistakes in consecutive games here at home, it's impossible at this kind of level. You don't see this. It's simply impossible. But we're doing this at the moment and you cannot win football games like this. 

"To say the pitch is difficult to play here, it maybe sounds like an excuse, but it is a very, very difficult pitch that we have here. It’s not in our favour. 

"The ball bounces very awkwardly in front of Andreas [Christensen] when he wants to play this ball. But still, we had the same mistake against Real Madrid that cost us the next round of the Champions League and this one cost us the next match. I can't remember when we got two goals like this 

"Look at the penalty, it is an unbelievable goal from our ball possession. There are no tactics behind that. We have three ball losses in 10 seconds. Then we do a foul where there's not even the slightest danger. We foul a person, it is a penalty and we rob ourselves six minutes for an equaliser.   

"It must be something, but it is also possible to not do it because we proved it in the last three matches and we thought we learned our lesson from Brentford and Real Madrid, but obviously not." 

Eddie Nketiah scored his first Premier League double as Arsenal got their top-four hopes back on track with an entertaining 4-2 victory over Chelsea. 

Mikel Arteta's faith in Nketiah was rewarded as the 22-year-old ended a wait for a league goal that stretched back to April 2021 with the opener at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. 

Timo Werner scored in consecutive Premier League games for just the second time in his Chelsea career to restore parity, before Emile Smith Rowe put Arsenal back in front. 

Cesar Azpilicueta got another equaliser for Chelsea, but he was at fault for Nketiah's second and a stoppage-time penalty from Bukayo Saka as Arsenal ended run of three straight defeats and went level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham. 

Andreas Christensen's bungled back pass was pounced upon by Nketiah and the attacker slotted a cool finish past Edouard Mendy to give Arsenal the lead in the 13th minute. 

Chelsea hit back four minutes later when Ruben Loftus-Cheek won possession high up the pitch and Werner unleashed a shot that deflected in off Granit Xhaka. 

Arsenal narrowly avoided gifting Chelsea a chance to take the lead and transitioned into a rapid counter-attack that finished with Smith Rowe placing a curling shot into the bottom-right corner. 

The Blues drew level before the break, though, with Mason Mount's excellent delivery steered home by Azpilicueta. 

Christensen made way for Thiago Silva at half-time, but Arsenal were back in front 13 minutes after the restart. Azpilicueta gave the ball away and Nketiah made the most of a couple of fortunate ricochets to double his tally. 

Azpilicueta then hauled Saka to ground in the box and the England winger fired the spot-kick home in the 92nd minute as Chelsea succumbed to a defeat that left them in danger of being dragged into an unexpected top-four battle.
 

What does it mean? Shoddy defending costs Chelsea 

Chelsea have lost three straight home games in all competitions for the first time in almost 30 years, and some sloppy errors brought on their latest defeat. 

They gifted Nketiah a pair of goals and were caught short when their high press was beaten ahead of Smith Rowe's strike. 

The Gunners were by no means in good form at the back, but some crucial blocks from Gabriel helped them secure a huge three points. 

Sublime Saka 

Marcos Alonso struggled to cope with Saka's dribbling ability as he proved extremely dangerous when Arsenal counter-attacked. He capped an all-action display with a deserved goal at the death.

Lacklustre Lukaku 

Thomas Tuchel handed Romelu Lukaku his first start in over a month, but the Belgian failed to impress. His 22 touches were the fewest of any Chelsea starter and he missed the target with his only attempt on goal. 

What's next? 

Arsenal entertain Manchester United in a game that could be key to their top-four hopes on Saturday, while Chelsea have another London derby against West Ham the following day. 

New investment at Milan could see the Italian powerhouse target the best players across Europe's top clubs.

Milan have entered into exclusive talks with Bahrain-based asset manager Investcorp over a takeover.

The Rossoneri have been linked with Real Madrid's Marco Asensio and Isco and Liverpool's Divock Origi already.

TOP STORY – STERLING ON MILAN WISH LIST

Milan are monitoring Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

The England international is among a list of players that Milan would like to sign amid a reported lucrative takeover by a Bahrain-based organisation.

Sterling's current contract with City expires in 2023, but the Daily Mail claims he would turn down the Italian move.

 

ROUND-UP

 Christian Eriksen is gaining interest from former employers Tottenham after a good run of form, although his agent is set to meet with Brentford at the end of this season to formalise his future, claims Fabrizio Romano.

– Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga will hold talks at the end of this season to discuss his future having struggled for opportunities, reports Football.London.

– Jose Mourinho's Roma will open talks with Nemanja Matic's representatives as the Serbian midfielder prepares to leave Manchester United, reports Nicolo Schira.

– Manchester Evening News claims Manchester United have revived their interest in Villarreal defender Pau Torres.

Romelu Lukaku can take comfort from Timo Werner's return to form and the Belgium star just needs "one spark" to find his confidence again, according to Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel.

Werner has come under regular scrutiny following his £45million (€50m) move to Stamford Bridge from RB Leipzig in June 2020.

The Germany international scored six goals in 35 appearances in his debut Premier League campaign and has found the net on just three occasions in the top flight this season.

However, two of those strikes came in the 6-0 rout of Southampton in his last league game, as many goals as he had managed in his previous 27 appearances in the Premier League. Werner also scored at Real Madrid in the Champions League and was influential in the FA Cup semi-final win over Crystal Palace.

Lukaku has endured similar struggles since his big-money return to Chelsea from Inter at the start of the season, last scoring in the league in December against Brighton and Hove Albion.

The former Manchester United man has been hampered by injuries as well, and although he missed glorious opportunities against Madrid and Palace on his return, Tuchel believes he will soon find his form.

"I don't think he needs inspiration as such, but he needs that one moment, that one spark," Tuchel said on Tuesday when asked if Lukaku could learn from Werner.

"He maybe would've been a natural starter against Crystal Palace given the minutes Kai [Havertz] has played and the matches recently, but after a period of injury he lacked the fitness for matches.

"I don't point the finger at him, it's just a fact.

"Compare the difference in Brentford and Southampton, and the two legs against Real Madrid, you see the effort we put into become a winning team and this is what we need.

"Romelu should've had a goal against Real Madrid and Crystal Palace, but if he plays we need all that he has."

Reece James is another who has suffered with injury problems throughout the campaign, but he has shown encouraging form in recent weeks.

Tuchel acknowledged the brilliance of the England international, even if his adaptability causes many a selection headache whether to play him as a right wing-back or third centre-back.

"I think the back three is a little less demanding physically in terms of the wing-back position given he comes from a long injury," the German added on James.

"It is a bit of an advantage to have him in the back three because it is less demanding physically. He can play both positions brilliantly and we can only pick him once, so we have to decide."

Meanwhile, Tuchel expressed his gratitude to the work of Jorginho, who started against Palace on Sunday after being rested for two league games with Southampton and Brentford.

"He sacrificed for the team and I think you see it now," he said of the Italy midfielder. 

"There are so many demands, and after a big success, like winning the Euros, he felt the pressure. This is normal and sometimes after big success it is difficult to keep on going and going.

"He put the responsibility on his shoulders and always does. That is why I love him. We see we overused him and I feel we see the consequences of that. He is not at his freshest moment at the minute."

Thomas Tuchel is still demanding "special things" from his Chelsea side despite third place in the Premier League appearing secure.

Chelsea reached the FA Cup final with victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday, having crashed out of the Champions League following extra-time heartbreak against Real Madrid in their quarter-final tie.

But Tuchel's side look to have little to play for in the league, with top two Liverpool and Manchester City seemingly out of reach while Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United fight for fourth.

Chelsea are five points clear of fourth-placed Spurs, who have played two games more, and eight clear of Arsenal and United heading into the final weeks of the season.

But the former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund coach assured he wants more from his side ahead of a clash with Arsenal, who Chelsea could complete their first league double over since 2015-16.

"I'm not sure we don't become second or fourth," Tuchel told reporters at a pre-match news conference on Tuesday.

"So we will fight hard. We have a crucial four matches coming in a short period of time with Arsenal, West Ham, Man United and Everton.

"These are crucial matches for us given the task and what we want to achieve.

"It's a big challenge physically but mentally to dive into the main competition that is Premier League. It seems like things are pretty safe, but things can change so, so quickly.

"We want to demand it from the team, and it is challenging for everybody, but at the same time, it's what you sign up for when you sign up for Chelsea.

"We demand special things because we want to be a special group, we have the trust in the players that they can compete and overcome teams who are better prepared, have more days to prepare and less games in their legs.

"It's on us to push the standards and to push the level."

Chelsea have lost their past two home games in all competitions, against Brentford and Madrid, and will look to avoid a third straight defeat for the first time since November 1993, when the third reverse was against Arsenal.

However, the Blues could be forgiven for turning their attention elsewhere, with an FA Cup final against Liverpool coming in May.

Jurgen Klopp's side claimed victory on penalties when the two met in the EFL Cup final in February, and Tuchel acknowledged he will be out to make amends at Wembley Stadium.

"Of course, we feel it. It was only some weeks ago we lost in the same stadium," he said of the loss to Liverpool.

"In sports, if you lost against a team so recently, you want to turn things around quick. If you call it revenge or not, it doesn't matter, but we all have these competitive feelings."

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel told reporters he is not interested in Liverpool's hunt for a quadruple this season, and also gave credit to Timo Werner for finding form after the Blues' 2-0 FA Cup win against Crystal Palace.

Against Crystal Palace, Chelsea controlled throughout, with 67 per cent possession and double the amount of shots, but did not break the deadlock until the 65th minute through Ruben Loftus-Cheek, before Mason Mount doubled the advantage in the 76th minute.

With the win, they earned a spot in the FA Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley on May 14. It is Chelsea's third consecutive season making the final, losing 2-1 to Arsenal in 2020, and losing 1-0 against Leicester City in 2021.

Liverpool is still alive in the Premier League and Champions League, and beat Chelsea on penalties in the Carabao Cup, but Tuchel was not interested in discussing their potentially history-making season.

"I don’t care about [Liverpool's] other titles," he said.

"Of course, we lost a [Carabao Cup] final [to Liverpool]. We gave everything in that final, as you know, until the very last penalty. 

"We were unlucky and lost. We want to turn things around, but it will not give us the Carabao Cup title back.

"We were in the FA Cup final last season and we’re here again, it means unbelievably a lot to us.

"We will be well-prepared against one of the strongest teams in the world, who are in outstanding form given their results… it will be a tough one, [but] we will try to make life hard for them."

Tuchel also touched on the improving form of his striker after a slow start to the season, and his Chelsea career in general.

"We had a bit of a change in formation up front, so he played against Southampton, and [Werner] played alongside Kai [Havertz], with Mason [Mount] and Mateo Kovacic around him," he said.

"He likes that a lot, and has a good connection with them, so that was maybe the turnaround point for him. 

"He scored and had big chances. He was decisive in Madrid, and could have been the hero with the third goal, but unfortunately not. But he was involved; he scored, was involved, created chances and spaces, and did again today. 

"It was very hard to find spaces today and be decisive, but he assisted the second goal. Timo at the moment is a huge part [and deserves his place] in the team."

Thomas Tuchel expressed his delight with a "controlled and serious" performance that guided Chelsea into the FA Cup final.

Chelsea reached a third successive FA Cup final, matching the feat achieved by Arsenal between 2000-01 and 2002-03, with a 2-0 triumph over Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace at Wembley.

Substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek opened the scoring in the 65th minute with his first goal in any competition since November 2020, before Mason Mount sealed semi-final success with 14 minutes remaining.

The 2021-22 campaign now marks Mount's new-best scoring season, with his 12th strike this term surpassing his 11-goal haul for Championship side Derby County in 2018-19.

Tuchel, who has progressed from each of the 11 semi-final ties in his managerial career, congratulated his players for their efforts amid a hectic schedule, with Chelsea having slipped out of the Champions League after going to extra-time against Real Madrid on Tuesday.

"It was not easy because we played three games in three different competitions," Tuchel told ITV Sport. 

"It is not always easy, very challenging physically, we are the team with the most minutes in Europe I think, it is also challenging mentally.

"I thought the performance was very controlled and very serious, we took care of their counter-attacks. It was hard, the opponent changed system twice, you cannot lose focus for a minute."

Tuchel also reserved special praise for Loftus-Cheek, who scored his first Chelsea goal since May 2019, when he netted in a Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt.

"He [Ruben Loftus-Cheek] was very, very strong in matches against Southampton and Real Madrid, he would have deserved to start," said Tuchel.

"We knew Ruben would have a big impact off the bench. I am very happy.

"He hid his talent and potential for a long time in his career. He is capable of producing performances that everyone sees on the pitch. For him, it is step by step that he continues to grow in his confidence."

 

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool stand in the way of Chelsea in the final, and it will be the second time the same two sides have competed in the EFL Cup and FA Cup showpiece events in the same season, after Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday met in both competitions in 1992-93.

Tuchel, though, cannot wait to renew his battle with the quadruple-hunting Liverpool, who ran out penalty shoot-out victors in the EFL Cup in late February and defeated Premier League title rivals Manchester City in Saturday's semi-final.

"I am happy to be part of it again, I cannot be more excited and more proud because it is a huge competition. We will be ready," he added.

Romelu Lukaku should look at Timo Werner for inspiration if he plays any part in Chelsea's FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace on Sunday, according to Blues boss Thomas Tuchel.

Werner has endured a largely difficult time at Stamford Bridge since arriving from RB Leipzig in June 2020, but he has shone in the past week.

He followed up a brace in the 6-0 Premier League win over Southampton last weekend with another goal in the Champions League quarter-final second-leg win at Real Madrid in midweek.

Like Werner, Lukaku has had difficulties since joining the club from Inter ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

He has scored just five goals and registered zero assists in his 12 Premier League starts, while he has created only 16 opportunities and converted 17.2 per cent of his 29 shots, just 11 of which have been on target.

Lukaku's 12 goals in all competitions only marginally exceeds his expected goals (xG) of 11.8, however, showing he is at least scoring at a rate that reflects the quality of chances that have come his way.

But the fact his xG is not higher suggests a lack of cohesion between Lukaku and his team-mates.

The Belgium international has missed Chelsea's last two games through injury, although he returned to training this week and is expected to play some part in Sunday's last-four clash at Wembley.

 

Asked if the 28-year-old needs to emulate Werner if he is selected against Palace, Tuchel told a media conference: "For sure. He had a huge chance against Real Madrid [at home] and things can go so fast.

"Nobody knows what this goal would have done for us if he had taken his chance with the late header in the first leg.

"It is exactly what he needs to do. Wait, be patient, work hard and put the team first, be ready to help the team, because as a striker you can help within seconds.

"Especially for strikers, things can be turned around in minutes, in moments. Whole careers can be upside down and in any direction but always as a striker you can have a chance to put things into your favour, as a substitute or if you have the chance to perform from the beginning."

Chelsea have won each of their last nine fixtures with Palace, all coming in the Premier League.

In the club's history, they have enjoyed five separate instances of 10 or more successive wins against an opponent, most recently a run of 11 versus Brighton and Hove Albion between 1967 and 2019.

Thomas Tuchel is relieved Chelsea have the opportunity to quickly get back on track in their FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace, for which Romelu Lukaku may be available.

A huge week for Chelsea has been a difficult one so far, as their outstanding performance away to Real Madrid in a Champions League quarter-final was not enough to advance.

Trailing 3-1 from the home leg, the defending European champions were heading through when Timo Werner put them three up, only for Madrid to respond with goals from Rodrygo in normal time and Karim Benzema in extra time.

With Chelsea relatively secure in third place in the Premier League, their main focus now is on the FA Cup.

The Blues at least came through the Madrid second leg unscathed, with Tuchel's only update before the Palace game on the potential return of record signing Lukaku.

"Romelu was back in training yesterday [Thursday]. Let's see if he has any reaction or not," Tuchel told a pre-match news conference. "Then everybody should be okay."

The Chelsea coach will be looking to preserve his fine semi-final record, having won 11 and drawn one of his 12 previous such matches.

And Tuchel believes Chelsea will benefit from being thrust straight into another big match – this their first FA Cup tie against London rivals Palace since 1975-76, with the two teams each winning two of the four prior meetings.

"I think we are all a bit in between," Tuchel said. "Confidence wise, I think it's a huge boost, but still it's a disappointment to go out of the Champions League in the quarter-final.

"It's not a big drama, not in this kind of way, but still it's a big disappointment, because we feel like we could be one of the four teams in the semi-final.

"It's a weird feeling, because we had a huge task to go to Madrid, needing to win with a minimum of two goals to make it to extra time. We were three goals ahead.

"In a knockout game in the Bernabeu, it's a fantastic performance and stays like this. But it tastes bitter, because we're out of the Champions League.

"In both legs, we did too many individual mistakes, too many mistakes that were punished by individual quality.

"It's still a little bit in between for me, but we bounced back from the two results and the two performances against Brentford and Madrid at home.

"We won both games after that and there's a big knockout game coming at Wembley, which is, in my opinion, a good thing. There's a huge reward coming with it, so it's not a normal game in the Premier League to collect points, but it's straight away another knockout match."

Chelsea have plenty of experience of matches of this magnitude, too. Having lost the EFL Cup final to Liverpool earlier this season, they are playing multiple games at Wembley in a sixth consecutive campaign, with this their 40th appearance at the national stadium when used as a neutral venue.

Indeed, only Arsenal and Manchester United (both 30) have more FA Cup semi-final appearances than Chelsea (26).

The Blues have lost their past two FA Cup London derbies, although both were to Arsenal. Their past six FA Cup defeats to teams from the capital were against Arsenal.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel insists he has "no regrets" after his side's dramatic Champions League quarter-final exit to Real Madrid on Tuesday.

The Blues overturned Madrid's 3-1 advantage from the first leg last week through goals from Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner, yet Rodrygo's volley forced the tie into extra time.

Karim Benzema had the final say, heading home six minutes into additional time to seal a 5-4 aggregate victory. 

Chelsea became just the second English team to score three goals away against Los Blancos in all European competitions, after Manchester United did so in a 3-3 draw in the European Cup in May 1968.

That was not enough to help the holders into the last four, however, and although Tuchel was proud of his players' efforts, he lamented their inability to cut out the mistakes over both legs.

"We were unlucky," he told a media conference. "That is why we are disappointed. We were beaten by individual quality and conversion. We made two mistakes, two ball losses. We deserved to go through after this match today. It was not meant to be.

"We have to reduce our amount of mistakes and we could not reduce them to a minimum over the two legs. We had two crucial ball losses.

"There are no regrets. These are the kind of defeat you can take with pride as a sportsman.

"The players lived up to the plan in a very different way that we did against Brentford and in the first leg. 

"We were very disciplined on the ball and very active and invested off the ball. We showed courage and from there we showed our quality. This is the right way to do it. If we have this kind of effort, we are a special team."

Marcos Alonso saw an effort ruled out by VAR for handball shortly before Werner's third, and Tuchel was disappointed that referee Szymon Marciniak did not view the incident on the pitchside monitor before the strike was disallowed.

Asked if decisions went against his side, Tuchel said: "Not only today. When you play against Real Madrid, maybe you don't expect everyone has the courage.

"I felt the little decisions in the first leg and today as well. I didn't see the goal but I am super disappointed he didn't come out and check it on his own. You should stay the boss and not give the decisions to someone in a chair and who is isolated."

Chelsea are next in action on Sunday when they face Crystal Palace in an FA Cup semi-final clash. 

Thomas Tuchel says it will be "almost impossible" for Chelsea to avoid a Champions League exit but they must dream of fighting back to knock Real Madrid out.

A Karim Benzema consigned the holders to a 3-1 defeat in the first leg of the quarter-final tie at Stamford Bridge last week.

Chelsea responded to that loss by hammering Southampton 6-0 in the Premier League on Saturday, while Madrid stayed on course to be crowned LaLiga champions with a 2-0 victory over Getafe.

The Blues, who will be without injured record signing Romelu Lukaku due to an Achilles injury, have a mountain to climb at Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday and Tuchel is realistic over their chances of progressing to the last four.

But the German expects his side to put up more of a fight than they did in London last week.

He said: "It's one of the biggest challenges to perform as an away team at the Bernabeu. If you have to win by at least two goals, it is very difficult, almost impossible. We need to overperform.

He added: "We never manage our input and effort by chances we have for a result, we never did and will not start tomorrow by giving less because it's very unlikely we will make it.

"It's unlikely, but we will try, we will play to our full limit. It's a big night and a big match and we wll try to be in better shape and in a better condition than in the first leg."

Tuchel says Chelsea must arrive in the Spanish capital with belief they can pull off a stunning comeback.

"We need nothing else than a fantastic script," he said. "The task is incredibly high after the first leg. You're always allowed to dream and sometimes it is important to imagine and dream about things, but it doesn't change the fact we need to be ready to deliver.

"We will try hard, it's worth trying. Hopefully we can fulfil our dream, but realistically we have to invest a lot."

Cesar Azpilicueta is available after testing negative for COVID-19, while Callum Hudson-Odoi remains sidelined with an Achilles injury and Ross Barkley is out due to illness.

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