Tuchel vows to play down off-field issues

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel insists he and his squad are focused on their Champions League trip to Lille despite the raft of off-field problems which have hit the club (Match Betting – Lille 16/5, draw 5/2, Chelsea 19/20).

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has announced he has begun the process of selling the club he has owned since 2003 but his assets have been frozen, meaning he cannot do any business.

This has had profound implications at Chelsea with their club credit cards frozen, meaning ticket sales and new player contracts have to be shelved for the time being.

Under the special measures imposed upon the club, they are only allowed to spend a maximum of £20,000 on away travel meaning they have had to adjust their pals for the trip to Lille.

Despite the negativity surrounding the club, Tuchel is confident it won’t have had a big effect on the dressing room as they defend a two-goal lead in the second leg.

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Goals from Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic were enough for a comfortable Stamford Bridge win against the French champions in the first leg, as Chelsea (7/1 Champions League outright) ultimately are aiming to seal back-to-back Champions League successes.

“We have a framework to go to Lille and play the game in Lille where there will absolutely be no excuses regarding this kind of organisation,” he said.

“It is already a bit more difficult to arrange things in a professional way, in the best way possible for the FA Cup (on Saturday) but we will deal with it.

“As long as we have shirts, as long as we are ‘alive’, as long as we are a team and we arrive with our players we will be competitive and we will fight hard for our success because we owe it to the people who support us.”

Wednesday’s other Champions League last 16 match sees Juventus host Villarreal with the score locked at 1-1 (Match Betting – Juventus 11/10, draw 23/10, Villarreal 11/4).

Juve’s new hero Dusan Vlahovic gave them the lead in the first minute of the first leg but Unai Emery’s defending Europa League winners fought back to draw with Dani Parejo scoring in the second half.

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