Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel said on Monday that he was not a fan of the new Champions League format which will force teams to play more matches in a campaign and put a strain on the players.
Amid the failed attempt by 12 top European clubs to form a breakaway Super League, Europe’s governing body UEFA approved a new format from the 2024-25 season with 36 clubs and teams set to play four more matches compared to the current format.
“I’m not sure if I like it. I can only see more games and it is hard for me to be excited at all,” Tuchel told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s semi-final, first leg against Real Madrid.
“All these discussions about the Super League made us forget about the new format of the Champions League. Did they ask any coaches or players? I don’t think so.
“We have so many new formats, with a (UEFA) Nations League as well. It’s not quality, it’s just more games. At the same time, we have just three substitutes in the Premier League, which is the toughest competition.”
While UEFA had threatened to ban the Super League founding clubs, including Real Madrid and Chelsea, from the Champions League, Tuchel said both teams “deserved” to be in the semi-finals.
“We do not deserve it because of political decisions or because of our logo, we deserve it because we have come a long way,” Tuchel added.
“I had the luck to be part of it since the knockout phase and we have fought our way through with results. If problems exist on a sports political level, it has to be sorted on that level.”
The match could also have Real forward Eden Hazard playing against his former club after putting his injury worries behind him and Tuchel said the Belgian would be looking to make amends having missed the majority of the season.
“Eden is a top quality player, he was a key player at this club and in this league, we have the biggest respect for him,” Tuchel said.
“Many people know him well but we don’t only talk about him. He is fit, had a comeback in the last game. If he plays, I am sure he wants to make a point.”