Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says his young side are on a “big adventure” in the Champions League after reaching the semi-finals.
Despite losing the second leg of their last eight match with Porto 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, the Premier League club went through 2-1 on aggregate to set up a tie with either Real Madrid or Liverpool.
Tuchel’s instant impact since his appointment in January has seen him guide Chelsea into semis of Europe’s top club competition for the first time since 2014, and he is already keen to play the underdog card.
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“When you look at our squad lists, the two players who scored last week (Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell), it was their first goals in the competition,” he said.
“Yet Kylian Mbappé scores or Benzema scores, Salah scores, and it’s their 50th or 100th goal.
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.”
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Tuchel dedicated the win to Mateo Kovacic, who missed the match with a hamstring injury. The Croatia midfielder is likely to be absent for the FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City on Saturday, and the Chelsea boss is hoping N’Golo Kante can go again - despite his recent fitness issues.
“It was clear we had to use N'Golo, we took the situation and put him on the field and hope he can have the energy for 90 minutes,” sait Tuchel.
N'Golo is incredible, he's like two players. Everybody who sees him for the first time loves him. All my family love him when they watch our games now.
"It's just so nice to have him. When he wins so many balls he gives everybody confidence.
"I was not sure if we would have started N'Golo if we had everyone available. But now it's time to recover and we'll see how we go."
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