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Champions League

Thomas Tuchel picks out three Chelsea stars “you don’t want to fight”


Thomas Tuchel has picked out Chelsea’s hard men by declaring “you don’t want to fight” Antonio Rudiger, Mateo Kovacic and Cesar Azpilicueta.

The Blues’ boss has been slowly getting to grips with his new squad, but that trio of senior stars have been virtually ever-present under him so far during his brief tenure.

Rudiger in particular has benefited from Tuchel’s appointment, having been largely on the fringes at the end of Frank Lampard’s reign, while Kovacic and Azpilicueta have long been considered reliable figures at Stamford Bridge.

And Tuchel feels all three players have a significant impact on those around them, by doing the dirty work so the other players don’t have to.

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“Honestly you don’t want to be in a fight with Antonio Rudiger, Kova and Azpi,” Tuchel said at a press conference.

Tuchel picked out Rudiger (2L), Azpilicueta (C) and Kovacic (2R) as Chelsea's reliable leaders
Tuchel picked out Rudiger (2L), Azpilicueta (C) and Kovacic (2R) as Chelsea’s reliable leaders

“For me you don’t want to be in a fight with them, because they are ready to fight and it’s their nature to show it on the pitch and protect the interests of our team.

“They are there we can rely on them nobody has to do stuff which is against their nature you can totally rely on them.”

Chelsea have a big opportunity to end the season on a high as they chase a top four spot while also eyeing Champions League glory.

Tuchel took Paris Saint-Germain to the final last season and already has one foot in the next round with Chelsea ahead of their quarter-final second leg clash with Porto.

The sides meet on Tuesday in the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium in Seville with Chelsea already holding a 2-0 advantage from the first leg thanks to away goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell.

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Porto showed a steely resolve in the last round to upset the odds by knocking out Juventus, but Tuchel believes his side’s team spirit can carry them through.

“For me when I was a player at a lower level when you have big matches and feel the tension you look around at who is next to you and feel comfortable, see who you can rely on,” he added.

“I feel our guys are very comfortable when they look around and see who they can rely on. No one is out there alone, we will help each other, we will help from the bench.

“We will push hard for the best outcome. We have minimum of 90 minutes to fight for and achieve a big goal.”





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