Trio ready for tense top-four battle

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May 22, 2021
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    Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel watches his Chelsea players in trainingA win will guarantee a top-four finish for Thomas Tuchel's (third from left) Chelsea side

    Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says securing a top-four finish in the Premier League on Sunday will take some of the pressure off the Champions League final against Manchester City.

    The Blues will qualify for next season's tournament if they beat Aston Villa in their final league game.

    They play City in Porto on 29 May and Tuchel hopes to have secured Champions League football next term before then.

    "For sure it takes some pressure off – but we want it all," he said.

    "We've put so much hard work, so much quality and a very consistent amount of results into the last few months, that we want to finish the job on Sunday.

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    "And like I said, we know it's going to be tough, but we don't know what awaits us in detail.

    "Anything can happen in the 90 minutes of football, and this is what everybody loves about this game."

    Table showing the teams in the race for the top four

    Chelsea head into Sunday's game on 67 points, one point ahead of both Liverpool and Leicester, with the Reds having the edge on goal difference.

    Liverpool host Crystal Palace at Anfield knowing that if they win 1-0, Leicester would have to beat Tottenham by a five-goal margin to finish fourth – unless Chelsea fail to beat Villa.

    "I'm used to stress until the last match day," Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said.

    "We've found some stability and created confidence again. We've scored in the right moments and conceded fewer.

    "That's what we had to do. But in these kind of games, anything can happen. Nobody should expect the perfect game, I respect Palace too much."

    For Leicester to finish in the top four, they must take more points than Liverpool or beat Tottenham by a margin four goals greater than Liverpool manage against Palace.

    The Foxes won the FA Cup by beating Chelsea last weekend and boss Brendan Rodgers is putting no pressure on his players before the Spurs game.

    "This week has been really about perspective," he said.

    "I look back at everything we've had to deal with; a European campaign, the injury list we've had – they were injuries to key, important players for us – but we've been able to adapt and change the team around to be competitive at the very top.

    "As we sit here, our concentration is on winning the game at the weekend against a talented Tottenham team. If we arrive on 69 points at the end of the season and somehow don't make it to the Champions League, then it's been really, really unfortunate."

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