The Blues boss thinks Europe’s elite competition has been changed for the worse and it went under the radar amid focus on the Super League last week
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is against changes to the Champions League, which will see clubs playing more fixtures in the group stage.
The Blues are already set to complete a 58 or 59-game season this year and that total would be increased in future, with four extra matches added to the group phase of the Champions League from 2024.
Along with UEFA’s revamped Nations League and FIFA’s new Club World Cup tournament proposals, Tuchel believes that players at the top clubs are being pushed beyond their physical limits.
What has Tuchel said?
“I am not sure if I like it because I can only see many more games in the schedule that we have. It is very hard for me to get excited about it,” Tuchel said ahead of the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.
“With these discussions about the Super League, we forget that we now have a new format in the Champions League. Did they ask any coach about it? I don’t think so. Did they ask any players about it? I don’t think so.
“We have a Nations League, a new championship for the clubs, so much more stuff and so many more games, European Championships in the summer, it is just more and more games. Who should play these games?
“At the same time, we have only three substitutes per game here in the Premier League. No, I am not happy about this format.”
The Super League fallout?
After Real Madrid president Florentino Perez led the Super League project and publicly defended it, English clubs, including Chelsea, were praised by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin for leaving early and collapsing the plans.
Ceferin has also said that English clubs will face reduced UEFA sanctions compared to the Spanish and Italian clubs involved in the ESL. Ahead of Tuesday’s game against Madrid, Tuchel is happy that neither Chelsea nor the Blancos were kicked out of this season’s competition as a punishment.
“We deserve to be in the semi-final like Real Madrid,” he added. “We don’t deserve it because of political decisions, or influence, or size or nice shirts; we deserve it because we came a long way.
“I was part of it since the knockout phase. All teams have come a long way. They have fought their way through on sporting results in the toughest competition in Europe. So, of course, we deserve to play in the semi-final.
“If a problem exists on a political sports level, then it has to be solved on this level, not during a competition which is not affected. Right now, we deserve, through the competition, to be there.
“That’s why we are full of confidence and looking forward to playing these matches on the highest level because that’s what we all dream about when we are kids.”
Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has been asked repeatedly about whether UEFA’s referees will punish his team for his club’s role in the Super League plans, and Tuchel was also asked to comment on the issue by Spanish journalists.
“I trust 100 per cent in the referee and in UEFA and in the competition,” said Tuchel. “I trust 100 per cent that any referee UEFA sends on this level. We need the best referees because it’s very, very difficult.”