Chelsea Coach Says World Title For Owner Abramovich
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel dedicated the team’s FIFA Club World Cup title to owner Roman Abramovich after a 2-1 extra time win against Palmeiras landed the only trophy missing since the Russian bought the club.
Kai Havertz’s converted penalty near the end of extra time means Chelsea are now European and world champions.
Chelsea have now won 18 major trophies since 2003 when Abramovich bought the club — five Premier Leagues, two Champions Leagues, five FA Cups, three League Cups, two Europa Leagues and now the FIFA Club World Cup.
They are also in this season’s League Cup final and Champions League, although the Premier League title will almost certainly be beyond them with Manchester City’s form.
“I said congratulations, he said congratulations, and I said it’s for you. It’s your club and it’s your input and your passion that made this possible and we’re happy to be part of it,” Tuchel told reporters when asked what he had said to Abramovich after the final whistle.
Tuchel made a late dash to Abu Dhabi to take charge of the team after missing the semi-final against Al-Hilal after a positive COVID-19 test.
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The German, who has had a stunning impact at Stamford Bridge since taking charge a year ago, said it was touch and go whether he would make it to the Middle East in time.
He then tested negative and made the trip to reach the United Arab Emirates in time though to make the final.
“We were running out of flights, with the time difference we knew the deadline was coming,” said Tuchel. “I was several times on my way to the airport and several times while I was driving called back because my test was not negative.”
“And finally we made it, I arrived yesterday for dinner, at 8.15 in the evening. Coaching is also about feeling, on the touchline. It’s not possible to coach only from the office.”
Palmeiras looked like taking Chelsea to a penalty shootout before Cesar Azpilicueta’s shot was blocked by the arm of Luan and Havertz converted the resulting spot kick.
Chelsea’s only other appearance in the competition ended in defeat against Corinthians in the 2012 final.
“If you score late, you need luck to do it. We were relentless, kept on trying, didn’t stop. We didn’t give in,” Tuchel added. “We said in the dressing room what an opportunity, everyone is jealous of us.”
“It is very special and we wanted to play with no regrets.”