Chelsea fans react as club withdraws from Super League

Thomas Tuchel criticises new Champions League format ahead of Real Madrid semi-final

The Swiss style format will see four more teams and more fixtures arrive from 2024

Jack Rathborn@JackRathborn
Tuesday 27 April 2021 09:22
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Thomas Tuchel has voiced his disapproval surrounding the new format of the Champions League ahead of Chelsea’s semi-final first leg against Real Madrid.

The German head coach believes the fiasco surrounding the now doomed European Super League last week allowed the newly-revamped tournament to go unchallenged.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola were irked about the increase in games without consultation with coaches and players, and Tuchel has echoed those thoughts.

“I’m not sure if I like it because I can only see more games out of it,” he said. “And more games in a schedule that we have... it’s very hard for me to be excited at all.

“All these discussions about Super League made (everyone) forget that we have now a new format of Champions League very soon.”

The competition is to be increased from 32 to 36 teams, from the 2024-25 season, with a new-look group stage that will see all teams play at least 10 fixtures.

“Did they ask any coach about this?” Tuchel continued. “I don’t think so. They did not ask me. Did they ask any player about it? I don’t think so.

“We have so many new formats - Nations League, a new World Championship for clubs coming soon... so much new stuff, so many more games, more teams in the European Championship in the summer.

“It’s just more and more and more games - not more quality, just more games.

“Who should play these games? And at the same time we have three substitutes here in the Premier League, in the toughest competitions. No, I’m not happy about this format, not at all.”

Blues supporters’ vehement public protests forced the club into a U-turn on their Super League participation, and Tuchel has called on fans to back his team in their first Champions League semi-final since 2014.

“We need all the support to be able to overcome this huge step in these two games,” he said.

“So, put your anger to the decision, put your anger to the way the decision was presented, which is well understood by me and absolutely fine by me.

“But don’t put it on the team and never doubt the love that all the people here in Cobham and I’m sure all the other clubs, don’t doubt the love everyone has for this game.

“And you will see all the passion on the pitch (on Tuesday) again.”

PA contributed to this report

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