Football

Tuchel says Chelsea youngsters are ready for "big adventure" in Champions League


Thomas Tuchel says his young players are ready for a “big adventure” after reaching their first Champions League semi final in seven years.

Chelsea went through and clinched a tie against either Real Madrid or Liverpool despite losing on the night to Porto substitute Mehdi Taremi’s spectacular injury time goal which lit up a dull game.

Tuchel admitted it was not pretty but insisted his inexperienced squad are fearless and can go all the way in this season’s competition having reached the last four thanks to goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell in the first leg.

Chelsea boss Tuchel said: “When you look at our squad lists, the two players who scored last week, it was their first goals in the competition and yet Kylian Mbappe scores or Benzema scores, Salah scores, and it’s their 50th or 100th goal.



Tuchel was delighted with his young charges
Tuchel was delighted with his young charges

“We want to turn it round and what a young team can do is fight, run and hang in there. It’s like a big adventure for them. To reach a semi final is a very big achievement and you see the last time Chelsea made the semi final, we are not used to being there.

“Once you are there, you play for the final. That is clear. You take it every minute to learn and improve. We are doing it now through our experiences, while we are playing it and it’s nice to be at the sidelines.

“Maybe it’s not the most fantastic game to watch on the TV but Porto are such a difficult team to play against. But we went through and I am super happy.

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“I was still nervous because a goal can change everything and if it’s a crazy goal, a deflection, own goal or bicycle kick like this then it can happen no matter how well you defend.



Taremi's overhead kick ultimately didn't matter
Taremi’s overhead kick ultimately didn’t matter

“It’s part of your performance to not let your opponent perform. It was frustrating, not fantastic to watch but this is what they do and this was the day to hang in, to show all the intensity and team spirit.”

Tuchel revealed Mateo Kovacic missed the game with a hamstring injury which will also rule him out of Saturday’s FA Cup final with Manchester City but was full of praise for his replacement N’Golo Kante who played despite not being fully match fit.

Tuchel added: “It was a muscle injury, out of nothing, it was just a little exercise to get a sweat on and he felt his hamstring. i was sad for him because we don’t have many experienced players who have played so many Champions League games.

“I felt sad for Mateo and we did it for him but N’Golo is an incredible player, he is like one and a half players, maybe two, and now my family love him when they watch the games.”





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