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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Thomas Tuchel delivers verdict on Chelsea's Club World Cup trip and hectic fixture schedule

Chelsea will be travelling to the United Arab Emirates early next year to take part in the Club World Cup, delayed by a couple of months aft...


Chelsea will be travelling to the United Arab Emirates early next year to take part in the Club World Cup, delayed by a couple of months after Japan decided to withdraw its hosting for the tournament. FIFA eventually confirmed on Wednesday that the UAE would take over hosting the tournament, with the Covid-19 pandemic the reason behind Japan's withdrawal.

The Club World Cup is competed for by teams from every FIFA confederation that won their respective continental trophy. Chelsea qualified for the event by winning the Champions League against Man City back in May. The competition is nothing new to the Blues this seas as they always new it was coming - they just didn't know when. Technically, they still don't with FIFA only saying it would be held in "early 2022."

That could be January, February or March, always busy times in the football calendar, but February looks the best shot in terms of it being a bit quieter though that would mean a potential Champions League last 16 tie having to be moved with the two legs schedule for the middle two weeks of the month.

Blues head coach Thomas Tuchel has been vocal in his frustration at the amount of football his players are dealing with this season, which has already had two international breaks, eight Premier League games, three Champions League fixtures and a Carabao Cup tie squeezed in.

Tuchel was asked about even more potential fixture congestion owing to the Club World Cup next year and while he reiterated his frustrations, did say it was a trophy he and the players will be going all out to win.

He said: "I don’t know if it’s in January or February. It’s too far ahead. I plan for two, three, four weeks but we know we play in this competition and we would love to win it. Make no mistake we absolutely want to win the competition.

"Am I right in thinking they want to make this competition even bigger and play it with 24 teams or something. I have no idea (how that fits in) and, in my experience, no-one asks the coaches or explains to the coaches. We just handle the consequences when they decide to do so. "I was never asked if I’d like a Club World Cup with 24 teams, never. I know that maybe in Europe this title has not the highest priority but we should be humble enough to accept that in other parts of the world they play high level football.

"They have Champions Leagues in Asia and South America producing the highest levels of football and to have a competition like this makes absolute sense if you are FIFA. "But it needs to fit in the calendar. In the past, Liverpool lost a cup game because they were playing in Qatar. Then it gets a bit ridiculous and does not make sense from a sporting point of view. Then I allow myself to be critical because this game is about the players.

If you want to see the best game, and see the best players playing the best game and not being injured or tired or sitting on the plane travelling around for almost half a year it’s as simple as that. "We want to win titles and we want to win this competition. It has a lot of tradition and a lot of prestige and we feel blessed to play it because you can only play it if you win the European Champions League."

December is already looking like a hectic month for Chelsea and two of their games in the month were rescheduled on Thursday owing to the Club World Cup. The Blues begin with an away game at Watford On December 1 before visiting West Ham three days later. An away match at Zenit in the Champions League follows that.

Chelsea taken on Leeds United on December 11 at Stamford Bridge before then hosting Everton on the 16th. Wolves away is now scheduled for December 19. Then comes the festive matches and the Blues are in away action against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, Brighton at home on December 29 and then welcome Liverpool on January 2.

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