Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has ruled his side out of the Premier League title race, as Ousmane Debele was booed by Barcelona fans in their Europa League tie against Napoli
The Blues travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon but coach Tuchel has already changed his side’s target from lifting the trophy to simply securing Champions League football next season, with his side set to play the first leg of their last-16 tie with Lille in just three days.
It comes as club legend Claude Makelele’s role in developing Thomas Tuchel’s next team has come to light.
Tuchel’s title admission
Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea’s focus is now on finishing in the Premier League’s top four after declaring his side out of the title race.
The Blues have fallen a massive 16 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, but despite having one game in hand Tuchel has ruled out the chances of his team making a late title charge.
And the Chelsea manager has opened up on how his side will evaluate their season, and what they must do to improve their chances of lifting the Premier League trophy next year.
Makelele’s key role
Claude Makelele was a key figure in Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side – and he’s now proving to be just as key for Thomas Tuchel off the field.
The Frenchman, who turned 49 on Friday, returned to the club as a technical mentor in 2019 and his influence behind the scenes for Thomas Tuchel’s side is clear to see.
In his job, Makelele works closely with academy players, tracks technical performances in both training and matches while also keeping tabs on those out on loan – and plays a key role in integrating youngsters such as Trevoh Chalobah into the Blues’ first-team.
Dembele booed by Barca fans
Ousmane Dembele found himself being booed by his own fans every time he touched the ball during his side’s Europa League clash with Napoli.
The match finished 1-1 after Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski first-half goal gave the Italians the lead before Ferran Torres pegged them back with a penalty.
But it was Dembele’s appearance which caused the big talking point of the night after he was brought on in the 65th minute as Barca boss Xavi tried to push his side to win the game.
With Dembele set to depart the Camp Nou when his contract expires at the end of the season, it appears as though the club’s home support are not particularly happy with him.