The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition)

Tuchel trusts his big guns to fire Chelsea into the semi-final

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Thomas Tuchel believes Chelsea’s “emotional” leaders Toni Rudiger, Cesar Azpilcueta and Mateo Kovacic are fired up for tonight’s Champions League scrap with Porto.

Blues boss Tuchel insists those big characters will be itching for the battle when Chelsea aim to turn their 2-0 quarter-final first-leg lead into safe passage to the last four.

Kai Havertz starred in Saturday’s 4-1 Premier League victory at Crystal Palace, with Tuchel later claiming the Germany forward should embrace his languid style and does not need to set the Blues’ mental tone.

Germany defender Rudiger, club skipper Azpilicuet­a and Croatia midfielder Kovacic will handle that role in Seville, with Tuchel calling on his players to stick to their individual and collective strengths.

“Honestly, you don’t want to be in a fight with Toni Rudiger, and Azpi, and Kova; they are all emotional guys and you wouldn’t want to be in a fight with them,” said Tuchel.

“Because they are all ready to fight and it’s in their nature to show it on the pitch and to protect the interests of our team which is very important.

“They are there and we can rely on them, because it’s in their nature.

“Nobody needs to do anything that’s against their nature. We can totally rely on them.

“I think for me, when I was a player on the lower level it was always important for me, when you had big matches and felt the tension, you could look around the dressing room and go out of the tunnel, look around who’s next to you and feel confident and comfortabl­e.

“And I’m pretty sure that our guys feel very comfortabl­e when they look around and see who they rely on.

“The best thing about tomorrow is nobody needs to do it alone, nobody.”

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