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Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel added his voice to those criticising the new Champions League format on the eve of his side’s semi-final first leg against Real Madrid.
The German feels the announcement and subsequent swift demise of the European Super League last week allowed the revamped group stage for Europe’s premier club competition to go under the radar.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola last week expressed their discontent over the increase in games and the lack of consultation with coaches and players, and Tuchel is not a fan either.
“I’m not sure if I like it because I can only see more games out of it,” he said. “And more games in a schedule that we have… it’s very hard for me to be excited at all.
“All these discussions about Super League made (everyone) forget that we have now a new format of Champions League very soon.”
The competition is to be increased from 32 to 36 teams, from the 2024-25 season, with a new-look group stage that will see all teams play at least 10 fixtures.
“Did they ask any coach about this?” Tuchel continued. “I don’t think so. They did not ask me. Did they ask any player about it? I don’t think so.
“We have so many new formats – Nations League, a new World Championship for clubs coming soon… so much new stuff, so many more games, more teams in the European Championship in the summer.
“It’s just more and more and more games – not more quality, just more games.
“Who should play these games? And at the same time we have three substitutes here in the Premier League, in the toughest competitions. No, I’m not happy about this format, not at all.”
Blues supporters’ vehement public protests forced the club into a U-turn on their Super League participation, and Tuchel has called on fans to back his team in their first Champions League semi-final since 2014.
“We need all the support to be able to overcome this huge step in these two games,” he said.
“So, put your anger to the decision, put your anger to the way the decision was presented, which is well understood by me and absolutely fine by me.
“But don’t put it on the team and never doubt the love that all the people here in Cobham and I’m sure all the other clubs, don’t doubt the love everyone has for this game.
“And you will see all the passion on the pitch (on Tuesday) again.”