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‘It is a fantastic achievement’ – Thomas Tuchel hails desire and hunger of players as Chelsea march into final


Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel celebrates with Andreas Christensen after the match REUTERS/Toby Melville

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel celebrates with Andreas Christensen after the match REUTERS/Toby Melville

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel celebrates with Andreas Christensen after the match REUTERS/Toby Melville

European football's long-established old guard of 'super' clubs have been dreading the moment when the unwanted gate crashers at their party rewrote the rule book and now it has finally happened.

Chelsea will play Manchester City in this year's Champions League final, with clubs backed by mega-rich owners sealing their place in the biggest club match of them all in Istanbul later this month.

After City cruised into their first Champions League final on Tuesday night with a win against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea secured a comprehensive 3-1 aggregate win over Real Madrid and in truth, the margin of their victory should have been much wider.

Timo Werner and Mason Mount struck as Chelsea sunk Real Madrid 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to book their spot alongside the Manchester club.

Werner nodded into the empty net from one yard out in the first half, before Mount turned home Christian Pulisic’s cross late on, as Chelsea defeated Real 3-1 in the semi-finals on aggregate.

The Germany forward reacted fastest after Kai Havertz hit the bar, to notch his first goal in 12 games – for his simplest and most crucial in Chelsea blue.

The Blues spurned a host of chances to kill off the contest after the break, only for England star Mount to seal victory with a neat late finish.

And so now the Champions League will see a second all-English final in three years, following Liverpool’s win over Tottenham in 2019.

"I can't put it into words. Great performance tonight," declared a jubilant Mason Mount, who was outstanding once again.

"It was a tough, tough game. They're going to come and give it everything but we worked hard. We should've probably had about five! But the most important thing is we won tonight.

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"It was 1-0 but that really didn't matter because if they score, they were back in the game. To get that one late on, you can see by the celebrations, it was a massive goal for us and gave us breathing space in the last five minutes.

"We gave everything and we had that desire to win first half. We had a couple of opportunities where we won the ball and should've scored but we got the one late on and it's great.

"We haven't won anything yet. Hopefully we've got two massive cup finals and hopefully we can win."

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has pieced together a remarkable run of results since he took over from Frank Lampard in January, as he booked an appearance in a second successive Champions League final after taking PSG to the brink of glory last season.

"It was difficult in the first half when they had a lot of possession and made us suffer," he said on BT Sport.

"We were dangerous on counter attacks, but never lost the desire or hunger to defend.

"It was a fantastic performance in the second half, and we could have scored more earlier to be safe.

"It is a fantastic achievement and big congratulations to the team."

There may now be efforts to move the final to Wembley as UEFA have confirmed the Covid-19 surge in Istanbul will mean the final will take place with a limited crowd if it goes ahead in Turkey.

The bigger picture may be that the owners of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool may now be emboldened to push once more for a version of the Super League, after their aborted attempt to force through the breakaway competition last month.

On the evidence of this season's Champions League, their long-standing status as the kings of the European game is now under serious threat, with the new guard kicking their way into the seats of power at last.

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