Thomas Tuchel believes that his new Chelsea look has the “edge and the glue” to become real Champions League title contenders.

Hakim Ziyech and Emerson Palmieri scored when Chelsea defeated 10-man Atletico Madrid 2-0 in the round of 16 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

The Blues beat LaLiga front-runners 3-0 to reach their first Champions League quarter-finals since 2014. Tuchel extended his unbeaten start at Chelsea to 13 games.

Tuchel waited anxiously for the round of 16 on Friday, insisting that Chelsea should fear no one in the competition – and praised the spirit of his team as crucial to their continued European chances.

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Hakim Ziyech is attacked by his teammates after giving Chelsea the lead

“The most important thing is that we deserve it,” said Tuchel. “The most important thing is that we give the guys the feedback on what they have done here in terms of quality and intensity.

“The most important thing is that you feel it and that nobody has to convince you. You have to feel it.

“You play with a particular bond and accomplishments and results like these give you a certain advantage and glue to achieve special things. You can only achieve this through results and experience.


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Antonio Rudiger celebrates with Emerson after Chelsea’s second goal

“I’m pretty sure nobody wants to play against us. It’s a super difficult challenge because we’re already in the last eight.

“It’s a big step, but we don’t need to be afraid. We take what we get and prepare as best we can.”

Atletico sent Stefan Savic off late for throwing Toni RĂ¼diger off the ball, and Madrid were well beaten in this case.

Chelsea have played 11 clean sheets in 13 straight games since Tuchel took over from Frank Lampard.

Stefan Savic pleads for his innocence when he is shown red after 81 minutes
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Stefan Savic pleads for his innocence when he is shown red after 81 minutes

N’Golo Kante conjured up one of the groundbreaking achievements of a career that already has two Premier League titles and one World Cup victory.

The reticent French dominated Chelsea midfield from start to finish, leaving Tuchel in awe of the 29-year-old Dynamo.

“When you play with NG, you always play with at least half a man more. That is unique,” said Tuchel.

Emerson Palmieri gives Chelsea a comfortable win
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Emerson Palmieri gives Chelsea a comfortable win

“His coach is a pleasure. He’s a great gift for me, such a humble guy who is such a great helper on the field.”

“But don’t underestimate his quality in passing, dribbling and escaping the pressure. He and Mateo Kovacic had to be reinforced today because we missed Jorginho.

“So they knew we were going to rely on them and they delivered.”

Disappointed Atletico coach Diego Simeone took off his cap against Chelsea and insisted that his team should focus on the hunt for the Spanish championship again.



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Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone admits his side didn’t do enough to beat Chelsea in the Champions League round of 16.

“I think you have to congratulate your opponent if they are the better team,” said Simeone.

“We’re not afraid of what’s next. We’ve always had problems in the Champions League this season.”

“It’s been a tough campaign for us and of course we weren’t the best team today, Chelsea.

“We have to improve. We’ll leave on Friday and continue with the same motivation, dedication and enthusiasm with which we want to concentrate on the next game.”

What’s next?

Chelsea host Sheffield United in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup on Sunday. Kick-off is at 1.30 p.m. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid are at home with Alaves in the league at 5:30 p.m.

Key dates of the Champions League

Quarter-finals first leg: 6./7. April

Quarter-finals second leg: 13./14. April

Semi-finals first leg: 27./28. April

Semi-finals second legs: 4th / 5th May

Final: May 29 (Ataturk Olympic Stadium)