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    Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    Chelsea’s Tuchel says Champions League Not a Priority

    New Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has insisted that winning the Champions League is not a priority for him this season. The Blues face a tough task when they take on Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their last 16 clash, and overcoming Diego Simeone's high-flying LaLiga leaders will be a tough task.

    Tuchel has made an immediate impact since taking over at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea unbeaten in seven games, but the pressure is on for the former Paris Saint-Germain who reached the final of the competition last time around.

    However, the German insisted that Chelsea's Champions League campaign will not take precedence over anything else this season. "No. My priority is the next game we play," he said. "That has never been different and hopefully will never change because it's exactly what I expect from my players and my teams.

    "When we wear a Chelsea shirt, we play a Chelsea game and that means we play to win and give 100 per cent of effort and intensity. It's very nice and exciting to play Champions League games in the knockout stages but there is no preference."

    Tuchel's comments come as a surprise after it was revealed that he must ensure Chelsea finish in the Champions League spots, with a clause in his contract stating as much. According to a report in the Daily Mail, the Blues, who currently sit fifth on the Premier League table, need to finish in the top-four if Tuchel is to earn a contract that runs beyond the end of 2021-22.

    Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta shared his thoughts on how this side have been waiting for their second Champions League triumph nearly a decade on from that unforgettable Munich night in 2012. He said: "When I joined Chelsea in 2012 after just winning the Champions League, of course my aim was to repeat that.

    "It's something that sticks inside and every year when the chance comes we want to go further. It's the biggest competition in Europe, we know it's very tough. But we have to be ready for a challenge. It's something that is in me and hopefully we can start against Atletico by having a good game and see how far we can go."

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