Football

Tuchel names Chelsea players who Porto ‘wouldn’t want to fight’


Manager Thomas Tuchel believes Chelsea have enough steel and determination in their ranks to help them though their Champions League quarter-final with Porto.

The Blues take a 2-0 lead into the last-eight clash after Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell found the net in Seville. The west Londoners are huge favourites to progress but will take nothing for granted. The reward is a place in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite club competition. Tuchel is happy with the personnel he has for the Stamford Bridge encounter.

And he feels the likes of Antonio Rudiger, club skipper Cesar Azpilicueta and Mateo Kovacic will set the tone.

“Honestly, you don’t want to be in a fight with Toni Rudiger, and Azpi, and Kova; they are all emotional guys and you wouldn’t want to be in a fight with them,” he said.

“Because they are all ready to fight and it’s in their nature to show it on the pitch and to protect the interests of our team which is very, very important.

“They are there and we can rely on them, because it’s in their nature.”

And the German has urged his charges to focus on their own game.

“Nobody needs to do anything that’s against their nature,” he added. “We can totally rely on them.”

Tuchel hails collective Chelsea spirit

Tuchel has helped to galvanise the team since he replaced Frank Lampard at the helm in late January. The former Paris Saint-Germain coach has lost just one game to date.

Chelsea are right back in contention to finish in the top four and seem revitalised. But the Porto encounter is the biggest match of the campaign to date.

Tuchel is aware of that and has backed team spirit to see his side through.

“The best thing about tomorrow is nobody needs to do it alone, nobody,” he continued. “We are out there together, everybody on the pitch will help each other, and we will help from the bench and from the stands, and the guys who come off the bench.

“We do this together tomorrow and we will push hard, hard, hard for the best outcome, you can be absolutely sure.”

In a huge week for the club, Chelsea face Manchester City in the semi-finals of the FA Cup on Saturday. Tuchel does not know whether midfielder N’Golo Kante will be fit enough to start both matches after his recent hamstring injury.

“Honestly this decision we will take tomorrow, after we reflect on training today,” he stated.

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