Thomas Tuchel admits ‘big news’ of Roman Abramovich selling club was a distraction for Chelsea players

Thomas Tuchel admits ‘big news’ of Roman Abramovich selling club was a distraction for Chelsea players

Thomas Tuchel admits the talk surrounding Roman Abramovich was a distraction for the Chelsea players in the build-up to the Luton clash.

An hour before kick-off, Abramovich revealed he had decided to sell the club, amid growing pressure on the billionaire oligarch and calls for sanctions to be imposed.

Chelsea twice fell behind at Kenilworth Road before eventually winning 3-2, to book their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Tuchel insists that Abramovich can make whatever decision he wants regarding the club, but did confirm that it was tough for the players to not get distracted by events off the pitch.

“Maybe I heard it a little bit earlier than you, but still it was very close to kick-off,” Tuchel said.

“We heard the rumours throughout the day, it’s on TV. When you have team meetings and we eat together, the guys talk about it, everybody talks about it.

“It is big news, let’s wait and see and hope for best, see what the day brings.

“Every decision he takes is the right decision, it’s his choice and his club. That’s not on me to comment.

“In the very short-term, for us as a team, staff and players, it hopefully doesn’t mean too much. Maybe it even changes nothing. The situation is now out there, it’s a big situation and I can understand it.

“There will be a lot of reports, so we then try and do what we can to cancel the noise and stay focused, which is not always easy.”

It would have been a relief for Tuchel that Chelsea eventually came through the test against Luton, to move to within a match of a return to Wembley.

The events in the build-up to the game meant that the German was even more satisfied with his players’ efforts.

“We’re not living on an island, the guys have internet connection in the hotel and the TV is running,” Tuchel said.

“We see the news and we see the rumours. This is normal. Some are not so attached to it, some are more concerned - this is normal.

“To play on the same day a match where focus is absolutely key to win is not easy, it makes it a bigger performance and that’s why I’m very happy.”