European Super League: Owners 'have broken' fans' trust
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Thomas Tuchel has stressed that his Chelsea side will not give Liverpool or anybody else an inch in the race for Champions League qualification, even if they manage to take a huge step towards securing a top-four finish with victory over West Ham United on Saturday afternoon. The Blues currently sit fourth in the Premier League table and appear to be in the driving seat, but just three points separate them from eighth-placed Everton with six matches remaining to consolidate their position.
The likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and the Hammers will all be chomping at the bit to take advantage of any slip-ups from Tuchel’s side, with Saturday’s game at Stamford Bridge likely to have significant ramifications at the business end of the table.
West Ham have surged into the hunt for a Champions League spot since the turn of the year, with Manchester United loanee Jesse Lingard spearheading the charge.
The east London club are on a run of three consecutive wins, and will leapfrog Chelsea in the event of another victory with both sides level on 55 points going into the fixture.
Meanwhile, the Blues have looked imperious under Tuchel’s guidance, barring the 5-2 humiliation at the hands of West Bromwich Albion earlier this month, and are still very much in the frame to win both the Champions League and the FA Cup.
Speaking on Friday, the German boss suggested that the top-four battle will go right to the wire, urging his side to see the job through by keeping their heads and not taking anything for granted.
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“I know about the importance of this match tomorrow,” Tuchel told reporters. “But let’s assume that we win tomorrow, do you think that we are through? Do you think it’s finished? It’s by far from finished.
“Liverpool will never give up the fight, no other team below Liverpool will give up, and everybody who catches a streak can still be involved.
“I’m very sure that nobody at [third-placed] Leicester City thinks that they have made it. So this is a race that will go on and on.
“It [the draw against Brighton] was a little setback but we knew with how much quality Brighton defend, how difficult it could be against that team, a very underrated team in terms of points and what they deserve.
“So it was a little setback but not a big one. We are not doubting now or are concerned about what we are capable of producing.
“We closed the gap very quickly and now we arrive in fourth place and the race is on until the last match.”
Chelsea were one of the first clubs to pull out of the failed European Super League project earlier this week, after fans had protested in numbers outside Stamford Bridge against their beloved club’s involvement.
Tuchel continued, revealing that with the matter now settled, preparations for Saturday’s match have taken place with no external distractions.
He also spoke of the difficulty his side will face in overcoming West Ham, who seem to be firing on all cylinders and will give everything between now and the end of the season to achieve the club’s first top-four finish since the Premier League was introduced in its current form.
“The good news is that we are totally focused on the game with no other subjects around,” said Tuchel.
“We clearly expect a tough match. West Ham are a very strong team that rely on solidarity and discipline, which is the basis for a very dangerous counter-attacking side.
“They are relying on their set-pieces, which is a real threat, so the challenge is clear. We want to control the match, reduce ball losses to a minimum, close the spaces very intelligently before counter-attacks can even start and give away as few set-pieces as possible.
“That’s the plan, but there are a lot of things to do so it’s a big challenge.”
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