Thomas Tuchel has gifted David Moyes a huge potential boost ahead of Chelsea’s trip to West Ham United after claiming his players are distracted by talk of the European Super League.
That’s according to football.london, who quote the Blues boss as expressing concerns that news of his side’s involvement in a breakaway competition could impact results on the pitch over the final stretch of the season.
West Ham are currently locked in a battle with the German’s club for Champions League qualification, and host their rivals for a top-four position at the London Stadium this Saturday.
The Stamford Bridge natives are one of six English founding members of the ESL with Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, who are striving to establish a new midweek competition as soon as possible.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United have each withdrawn from the European Club Association to drive through their efforts to move away from the Champions League, which has seen UEFA threaten bans at domestic, European or world level.
The potential impact has carried natural discussions onto the pitches at Chelsea’s Cobham Training Centre, where Tuchel admits he nor the players were informed of the club’s plans ahead of their announcement.
“Maybe yes [the club speaking to the players] to help the situation, so we aren’t impacted in our preparations. The players and me trust the club, we are employees. It’s best we don’t get involved in sports politics and this situation. It’s above our heads,” he said.
“It’s a big subject, everyone is talking. It’s maybe impossible for the players not to be influenced by it, but it’s too early and there are a lot of opinions out there. Hopefully, we can stay calm, have the influence on the players so they don’t get distracted, and hopefully, we can bring the performance to tomorrow’s [Tuesday’s] game.”
Chelsea host Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday night as they play their game in hand over West Ham, having competed in the FA Cup Semi-Final on Saturday when they booked a date back at Wembley with a 1-0 win over Manchester City.
Tuchel’s side will move above the Irons and into fourth with a win over the Seagulls, with the two London sides currently separated by a single point while the Stamford Bridge natives boast the superior goal difference by eight.
Moyes will surely now be buzzing to hear Tuchel express concerns that his players could be distracted by talk of the European Super League, after losing ground in the race for a Champions League berth when beaten 3-2 at Newcastle United on Saturday.
The Hammers could have cemented their top-four claim with a win over the relegation-threatened Magpies and move four points clear of Chelsea with six games to play, but now need to rely on the Blues dropping points to remain ahead.
Continued threats of being blocked from representing their countries at international tournaments, such as this summer’s Euro 2020, could also see the Chelsea players be distracted when they visit the London Stadium this weekend.
West Ham have a strong record at home to the Blues in recent years, having won four of their last six meetings and drawing once in all competitions, and will hope to continue that run to re-overtake Chelsea in the fight for fourth should they beat Brighton on Tuesday night.