Thomas Tuchel warns Chelsea FC have a target on their back in the Champions League ahead of Juventus clash

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 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Thomas Tuchel has warned his Chelsea players they have put targets on their backs after last season’s Champions League glory.

They face Juventus in Turin tonight, with Tuchel claiming even the Italian giants will see his team as a major scalp.

Chelsea were surprise winners of the competition — beating Manchester City in the final — just four months after sacking Frank Lampard.

Now they are considered one of the favourites to retain their trophy after adding £97.5million Romelu Lukaku to their squad in the summer.

Tuchel said: “It’s hard to be seen as an underdog when you just won

the title. Now it is, of course, easy to make us the favourites. We have the experience that there’s a higher value to play against us, there’s a higher motivation to play against us.

“We have to accept this, it’s our fault. We have won this competition.”

Tuchel believes how Chelsea handle the added pressure of being champions will be key to their defence. They opened with victory against Zenit, and a win at the Allianz Stadium will be a major step towards the knockout stages.

“It’s no secret we like this role to come from an outsider or challenger for this title, which we still are,” said Tuchel.

“I don’t think we are the favourites but we showed the performances we’re capable of. And that’s now on us. It’s important that we make ourselves free from these expectations, and these expectations do not become our expectations and we stay realistic.”

Chelsea’s task in Turin has been made all the more difficult after N’Golo Kante tested positive for Covid-19. Kante is now self-isolating and follows Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in contracting the virus in recent weeks.

Chelsea are also without Mason Mount, who has failed to recover from a knock in training, while Reece James is sidelined with a twisted ankle. Pulisic is still out with an ankle injury.

Despite Kante’s positive test, Tuchel has refused to join the call for players to get fully vaccinated.

He said: “Do I have the right to say it? I’m not so sure. I can make the decision for myself, and everybody else needs to reflect on it and take a risk or not. It’s a serious question and vaccination seems to be a proper protection.

“I am vaccinated, I took the decision for myself. But I don’t really see myself in a position to speak about proper recommendations. Of course we take actions and then are responsible for them, and we don’t like to lose players.

“But we are not now angry with N’Golo. We are concerned about him, as we are with any injured players who get a kick in a game. We will stay in touch with him and bring him back as soon as possible.”

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