Tuchel admits Chelsea have Champions League edge after Atletico Madrid lose home advantage

The Blues boss acknowledges that his side have had a slice of luck ahead of their meeting with the Spanish league leaders in two weeks

Thomas Tuchel admits that Chelsea have an advantage after seeing the upcoming away leg of their Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid moved to a neutral venue.

UEFA announced that the tie would be moved to Arena Nationala in Romania’s capital city of Bucharest due to travel restrictions in place between the UK and Spain because of coronavirus.

Atleti were one of many clubs in European competition charged with finding a neutral venue this week after Covid-19 threw up problems for a host of clubs.

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What did Thomas Tuchel say?

“I can understand the feeling,” he said ahead of his side’s FA Cup tie with Barnsley. “Obviously, they don’t have the home advantage so I can absolutely understand the feeling. Do I have anything to do with it? No. was it our decision? No.

“So from now on, no more reflection for that. Don’t doubt that they will be ready to fight against us. They will be ready 100 per cent to fight in Bucharest against us. I can understand their feeling, but they will be ready and it is our duty to be ready to play them in 10 days, 12 days.

“I knew of this possibility for some days and now it’s confirmed. Honestly, my job is to adapt. So ok, we have to play there, now we have to adapt our travel routine, to adapt our schedule the day before and after. So we have to adapt and find solutions.

“This is the decision; there is no time to doubt and reflect on it. We saw it coming for some days and after this press conference we will deal with the consequences and go to get the best result.”

What are the other arrangements ahead of the match?

The match will take place on the same date of 23 February and it will kick off at the same time of 8pm GMT. It is understood that the tie at Stamford Bridge currently remains unaffected by the Covid-19 rules which are impacting football.

What do Atletico Madrid say about it?

A statement on the Los Rojiblancos website reads: “Faced with the impossibility of the English team travelling to Madrid after the entry restrictions have been extended beyond the date of the match, Atletico Madrid has sought alternatives in recent days in different countries due to the entry restrictions that affect several territories.

“Finally, taking into account all the conditions of access to the country, availability of facilities, preparation of stadiums and situation of the pandemic, it has been agreed with UEFA that the venue for the first leg is the Nacional Arena de Bucharest.”

The Nacional Arena, where FCSB, Dinamo Bucharest and the Romanian national team play their home games, is a stadium with great memories for Atletico, as it is where they won their second Europa League title in 2012, defeating Athletic Club 3-0.

Diego Simeone’s side have the added challenge of having a number of their star players out having tested positive for the virus. Those who are currently self-isolating include Thomas Lemar, Hector Herrera, Joao Felix, Moussa Dembele, Yannick Carrasco and Mario Hermoso.

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