Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea’s manager has reacted to the UEFA Champions League rules change that will impact teams in the competition this year.
Chelsea host Lille in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie tomorrow evening, the west Londoners first knockout round fixture since UEFA’s change of rules.
UEFA abolished the away goals rule in all competitions ahead of the 2021/22 season, removing the ruling in which a team with the most away goals scored, should a two-legged tie finish level on aggregate, progressed to the next round.
It’s removal has been a source of contention with several figures having spoken out against the change, fearing its removal takes away incentive for away sides to open up and attack.
Tuchel has now given his verdict on the change and has explained why he liked away goals, believing it gave games an ‘extra edge’ in European competition.
“I had the impression until now that it maybe give us a chance to be a bit more offensive because you can think about scoring and not be afraid of conceding. When we were asked at the UEFA meeting I was like the majority and pretty much all the coaches voted for this change of rule to make it clear and more understandable,” he said at his pre-match press conference.
“I liked it [away goals] because it gave it an extra edge during the game. I understand it, it was exciting, but at the same time I never fully understood why a 3-1 should be a better result than a 2-0. You can see both sides of it that maybe it was harder to score three and maybe it was a better result.
“I like it because now it’s clear. I think maybe we end up with more extra time and penalties because you will not win by away goals.
“We’re aware of it, but for us, it changes nothing in terms of our approach. We will try to keep a clean sheet, defend well, and attack as well as possible.
“If at all it changes our approach to the second leg a little, but it’s easier to adapt and let’s get the two games played, count the goals together, and if it’s not decided then we go to extra time.”