Chelsea fear no one in Champions League, says Tuchel
Holders Bayern Munich and Premier League leaders Manchester City are among the sides left in the competition
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says his side should fear no one in the Champions League after the London club secured a spot in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2014 with Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid.
Goals from Hakim Ziyech and Emerson Palmieri helped Chelsea complete a 3-0 aggregate win and extended their unbeaten run to 13 games in all competitions since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as coach in January.
Holders Bayern Munich and Premier League leaders Manchester City are among the sides left in the competition, with the draw to be made on Friday, but Tuchel said Chelsea deserved their place among Europe’s elite.
“The most important thing is we deserve this,” Tuchel said. “They play with a special bond and results like this give you a certain edge to achieve special things.
“I’m sure no one wants to play against us. This will be a difficult challenge... But on we go, no need to be afraid. We take what we get.”
Tuchel was delighted with the way his side controlled the game against the leaders of Spain’s La Liga but said there was still room for improvement.
“We need to improve in counterattacks, we have to be more forward thinking, use our speed and exploit spaces,” he said. “We are looking to be more clinical and precise.”
Ziyech has fallen short of expectations since his move to Chelsea but Tuchel was impressed by the Moroccan on Wednesday.
“He suffers a bit with our style, he needs to adapt ... but I am super happy, this was reliable from him,” Tuchel said.
Chelsea, who are fourth in the Premier League, host Sheffield United in the FA Cup quarterfinals on Sunday.
Meanwhile, holders Bayern Munich cruised through to the quarterfinals for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons after beating Lazio 2-1 at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Wednesday to secure a 6-2 aggregate victory.
Leading 4-1 from the first leg in Rome, Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring for Bayern from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute, his 39th goal of the season in all competitions, to virtually end Lazio’s hopes.
The German champions took their foot off the gas before substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, having replaced Lewandowski, added the second goal in the 73rd minute. Marco Parolo headed a late consolation for Lazio.
Bayern joined fellow German side Borussia Dortmund in the last eight and Lazio’s exit means no Italian team will compete in the Champions League quarterfinals, with Juventus and Atalanta having also gone out at the last-16 stage.
“It was important for me that we won the game,” Bayern coach Hansi Flick said. “Lazio defended well but I think the win was deserved.
“Our attack is so strong and we play a high-risk game. It’s important that we keep playing like this and defend from the front to put our opponents under pressure.”
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