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SOCCER

Chelsea: Tuchel urges "calm and focus" amid Abramovich uncertainty

Head coach Thomas Tuchel says his Chelsea players "have a right to focus on sports" amid talk about Russian owner Roman Abramovich's role at the club.

Update:
Chelsea: Tuchel urges "calm and focus" amid Abramovich uncertainty
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Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel said his team needs to "stay calm and focus" on football after Russian owner Roman Abramovich passed stewardship of the club to its trustees.

Abramovich announced on Saturday, a day before the Blues' EFL Cup final penalty shoot-out loss to Liverpool, that he is taking a step back from his involvement with the club.

That announcement came three days after Russia began its military invasion of Ukraine to widespread international condemnation.

"We have a right to focus on sports"

But ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Luton Town, Tuchel is not letting talk surrounding Abramovich – and wider events in Ukraine – distract his players.

"We try to be calm here," he said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference. "We are calm in the centre of a storm or some noise around us we cannot control. 

"We are not responsible for it. In the end it's best to stay calm and focus on what we love and what we do. This is sports

"We have a right to focus on sports, the players have a right to be focused. This is what we can tell the fans, I think this is what the fans saw on Sunday. 

"There is a big situation out there. A lot of commitment from the players of both clubs, from the fans. I think everybody is aware there are more important things. 

"The situation in Ukraine is by far much more important than football. Still, there was a full stadium. Still, we arrived two teams, strong teams, who played a fantastic match. 

"This is what we can do for the fans, to distract them and entertain them. To do what we do with maximum effort and commitment. I don't see any other solution what we can do different."

"You have to stop asking me these questions. I have no answers"

Probed further on events that are escalating in Ukraine, and whether Abramovich should remain the owner of Chelsea, Tuchel grew irritated with the line of questioning.

"You have to stop. I am not a politician. Honestly, I can only repeat it," he said. "I even feel bad to repeat it, to talk about it. I have never experienced war. 

"I am feeling very privileged, I sit here in peace. I do the best I can. You have to stop asking me these questions. I have no answers to you.

"You always start the question with the same sentence: 'There's much more important things than football, can you comment?'. You decide also to ask me about war. 

"How often do I need to say it? It's horrible. There cannot be any other opinion about it. That's it. Why should we be more distracted than you at work? 

"That's what I mean when I said it in the first place. It's out there. There's more important things out there. This will never change. It's about sports. 

"There's a lot more important things out there. Still, there is a huge distraction going on. We are worried

"In the end we try and create an atmosphere to come to work, which is our passion. We are very, very grateful and privileged to have it and it's not that big of a problem. 

"Everybody in Europe has some noise in his head that nobody likes. Maybe the same for you but still you try to do your job as good as possible, the same for us."

Chelsea face Luton FA Cup tie following Carabao Cup defeat

Chelsea's six-match winning run in all competitions was ended with Sunday's defeat to Liverpool at Wembley, albeit in a game that finished goalless at the end of 120 minutes.

The Blues now have a second game in the space of four days as they head into an FA Cup tie at second-tier Luton.

After suffering a rare defeat in a major final, Tuchel is hopeful his side can quickly respond this week.

"It should not be too hard to lift the team after Sunday," he said. "Everybody knows we played a strong match to our identity, with full commitment and a lot of quality. 

"You can never control the result. A winner had to be found and it was found after 22 penalties. That tells the story. That should not be the problem. 

"It's only two days. We gave a day off to clear our minds. It was not only a disappointment but physically training, demanding

"That leaves us with a one day turnaround to be ready for tomorrow. It's another competition; that's life at Chelsea. 

"We want to be competitive, we want to be in different competitions, so we have to be ready. Is that always easy? Maybe not

"This is what we do, what we demand. From me, myself and everybody around the team, last but not least from the players. This is where we are."

Tuchel confirmed that Chelsea have a "massive list" of absentees ahead of facing the Hatters, with Hakim Ziyech among those out of contention for Wednesday's contest.

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