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This performance wouldn’t appear in the accompanying brochure, but Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Lille on Wednesday gave would-be new owners a timely reminder of the winning machine they’re lining up to buy.
the blues weren’t particularly impressive at the pierre mauroy stadium and looked set for a tough night when burak yilmaz converted a penalty in the 38th minute, but christian pulisic’s clinical strike just before half-time and an effort from cesar azpilicueta in the second half they softened in the quarterfinals of the champions league.
the draw takes place in nyon on friday, hours before the deadline set by new york-based merchant bank raine group for interested parties to submit their formal bids to buy the champions of the world and Europe, valued by owner Roman Abramovich at £3 billion.
They’re still buying a team that competes in Europe courtesy of the kind of display that underscores their pedigree at this level: finding a way to achieve their goal despite a disappointing 90 minutes because they still mustered enough quality in the final third to pack off. their industrious but limited hosts.
– o’hanlon: what the chelsea team could look like after abramovich – olley: making sense of the chelsea situation – when is the ucl quarter final draw? ?
The preparations have not been easy. chelsea’s last visit to this ground in october 2019, also a 2-1 win but then in the group stage under thomas tuchel’s predecessor frank lampard, was overshadowed by a row emanating from images that Midfielder Ross Barkley was shown eating a kebab and chips and arguing with a taxi driver in Liverpool a few days earlier.
catering and travel are still on the agenda, but with much more urgency these days, given the restrictions placed on them as part of the license granted by the uk government to continue operating after the sanction of Abramovich for alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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The club’s travel plans for Lille were finalized before last Thursday’s government intervention, but Tuchel had barely taken a seat at his post-match press conference before the latest difficulty presented itself, indicating that uefa is likely that chelsea will not be able to sell tickets for the quarter-finals they had just reached as a result of abramovich’s sanction by the european union on tuesday.
“thank you for ruining my night”, tuchel replied upon hearing the news, moments after celebrating with the traveling support housed in the upper tier of the goal that they were attacking in the second half, a moment of unity that he and they can live for some time.
The likeable and erudite German continues to expertly navigate a devilishly difficult path in his role as half coach, half ambassador.
New owners often want to install their own head coach, but it’s hard to imagine a coach negotiating this spell better than Tuchel, particularly given that results have remained positive since Abramovich first hinted at a split the day before Chelsea faced Liverpool last month. carabao cup final.
the blues lost that game, narrowly in a penalty shootout, but have since beaten luton town, burnley, norwich city, newcastle united and now lille in a run that strikes at the heart of the culture fostered in the club for many years, something that predates tuchel’s arrival.
“We are all competitors and I always experienced from day one once I was part of the family, a very competitive spirit and a very competitive club,” Tuchel said.
“chelsea is very clear about what it requires of each employee and each player: play your role, play to the limit, live up to it and take responsibility.
“this is what chelsea is all about and that sharpens your mentality and brings out the best in you because it’s normal to do it on a day-to-day basis. because that mentality is installed over the years and the years, over the decades, so it is possible that we can stay focused.
“plays a big part in why we can produce results the way we do now when things are uncertain and unstable around us, because it’s already there.”
Few expected them to beat Manchester City in last season’s Champions League final and they were an even more surprising winner of the competition in 2012 when they changed managers midway through the season.
However, they kept winning. The source of Abramovich’s wealth has sparked debate over the purity of Chelsea’s success over the past two decades, but no one can deny the efficiency with which they have dished out trophies – their haul of 21 trophies since Abramovich bought the club in 2003. It is second to none in England.
There was, however, a degree of passivity here. Tuchel took the unusual step of adopting a 3-5-2 system to accommodate an additional central midfielder, presumably to bolster central areas and help stifle Lille.
In the end, it seemed only to contribute to a pedestrian display in which they barely threatened before Jorginho, a £50m signing, moved on to Pulisic, a £57.6m signing, to combine for a lille class moment just couldn’t match.
“European champions, we know what we are,” sang the away fans, suddenly audible for the first time all night as pulisic put an end to any hope of an upset.