Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel savours 'incomparable' Fifa Club World Cup triumph

European champions add the last missing major trophy to cabinet with extra-time win against Palmeiras in Abu Dhabi

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel described securing the Fifa Club World Cup as an "incomparable feeling", while he also dedicated the win in Abu Dhabi to club owner Roman Abramovich.

Contesting the final for a second time, the European champions defeated Brazil’s Palmeiras 2-1 after extra-time at the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium, with Kai Havertz scoring from the penalty spot to seal the title.

With the triumph, Chelsea became the third English Premier League club to be crowned world champions after Manchester United and Liverpool.

"Maybe this cup or this tournament is not so highly regarded in Europe, but once you're here and once you feel it, it totally catches you," said Tuchel, who arrived in Abu Dhabi late on Friday having last week tested positive for Covid-19.

"You're on the bus and you drive in the evening and you see the lights of the stadium, and you don't know the other team because they don't come from you country, not from your league. It's a fantastic feeling.

"And it's incomparable to any other feeling and so that's why it's so beautiful."

Chelsea, who lost the 2012 showpiece to Brazil’s Corinthians, took the lead on Saturday night through Romelu Lukaku’s 54th-minute header. However, Raphael Veiga equalised for the South American champions 10 minutes later with a penalty following Thiago Silva's handball, before Havertz took advantage of Luan’s handball to clinch the victory in the 117th minute. Luan was then sent off in injury time.

"We tried to calm the team down and tell them what a fantastic opportunity it is to play football like this," Tuchel said. "Every footballer in the world is jealous of having the chance to play this final.

"So many young boys one day dream to be in this final and watch this game, and we reminded ourselves that all of us have been spoiled somehow and it's also a moment to enjoy."

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel touches the Fifa Club World Cup trophy. AFP

The Club World Cup represented the only trophy Abramovich had not won since buying the London side in 2003.

Of the pair’s post-match chat, Tuchel said: "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 said afterwards that he almost did not make the last-gasp trip to the capital as he raced against time to be able to travel.

"We were running out of flights - with the time difference we knew the deadline was coming," the German said. "Several times I was on my way to the airport and on the way back from there while I was driving because the test was not negative. And finally we made it; I arrived yesterday for dinner, at 8.15 in the evening.

"It was not nice to watch the semi-finals at the office on the screen. As a coach you want to be on the sideline. And I'm happy now that all the effort was worth it and we managed to get the cup."

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Updated: February 13, 2022, 7:17 AM
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