Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel believes there will be less pressure on his side’s shoulders ahead of next weekend’s UEFA Champions League final against Manchester City if they wrap up a top four finish in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
The Blues, who got the better of Real Madrid at the semi-final stage to set up an all-English final with City, are on the cusp of securing a top four finish after beating rivals Leicester City 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening.
A victory against Aston Villa in their Premier League finale at Villa Park on Sunday would seal third spot, but any slip-ups could be capitalised on by either Liverpool or Leicester. Jurgen Klopp’s side and the Foxes are just one point behind the Blues in the standings, meaning failure to beat Villa could have costly consequences.
Should the Blues falter and miss out on securing a top-four berth, they would have to win the Champions League final to qualify for next season’s competition, meaning there would be a second chance for them to try and make the most of.
But the pressure of trying to win this season’s competition and qualify for next term’s could be an almighty amount of pressure to handle, meaning the Blues would much prefer to secure a route into next season’s competition via their league position.
And that is the manner that Tuchel would prefer to achieve it in, admitting that getting the job done against Villa would ease the pressure on his side’s shoulders in Portugal next Saturday evening.
Tuchel, speaking at his pre-match press conference this lunchtime, said: “For sure it takes some pressure off. But I don’t think when we arrive next week for the Champions League final that it would be in our heads to make it into Champions League next season.
“We will play 100 per cent no matter what to win the cup. The side effect could be a crucial one but we don’t want to play this final to arrive in the Champions League.
“We put so much hard work, quality into the last months. We want to finish the game on Sunday, but we don’t know what expects us.
“Anything can happen in 90 minutes of football.”
As well as speaking about next weekend’s Champions League final and the top four battle, Tuchel has also addressed the fact that Villa will have their own fans inside the stadium, meaning it will hand the home side an advantage.
Do you want all the latest news from around Chelsea Football Club straight to your email inbox?
Of course you do.
By signing up for our Chelsea newsletter, you will receive a twice-daily email, focused on all the latest news from Stamford Bridge.
And, not only that, but you will get exclusive content from our club writers Sam Inkersole and Adam Newson before anyone else.
You won’t miss a thing when it comes to the Blues.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Chelsea section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
Alternatively, you can click here and tick the Chelsea box to subscribe for our Blues newsletter.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
At the same time, though, he has admitted that it is much “nicer” to play in front of the supporters.
“They will not be fans for us and it’s an advantage for them,” the Chelsea chief added. “It makes things more difficult, no doubt about it.
“But it’s such a nicer game to play with spectators. We know it increases the challenge and adversity but we are ready to challenge to the very end.”