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BREAKING: Thomas Tuchel dedicates Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final progress to Mateo Kovacic

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says his side’s Champions League quarter-final aggregate win against Porto was for Mateo Kovacic.

The Croatian was set to start the second leg against the Portuguese giants but he pulled up at the end of training on Monday with a hamstring issue.

Kovacic is one of the few Chelsea players with experience of the latter stages of the competition and the midfielder is now set to miss this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final clash against Manchester City.

Tuchel admitted he was ‘very sad’ to be without Kovacic for the 1-0 defeat against Porto but he sees the side’s aggregate win to put them into the semi-finals was for the former Real Madrid man.

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‘Unfortunately yes I was very sad yesterday to see him after twenty minutes in training to have this little muscle injury more or less out of nothing,’ said Tuchel.

‘We played little boxes after training just to have a little sweat and he felt his hamstring. So he is for sure out of the game gainst City as well which is a big loss.

‘I was very sad for him because we don’t have so many experienced players that have played Champions League many times so if you see him when the anthem is playing and he stands there that he’s relaxed and he’s a hard fighter – everyone is happy to have him around. So we did it for him today. ‘

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Chelsea will face the winners out of Liverpool’s tie with Real Madrid in the semi-finals.

The Spanish giants take a 3-1 aggregate lead into the second leg at Anfield and Zinedine Zidane’s men are favourites to progress to the last four.

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Tuchel admitted afterwards that he would prefer to face Madrid, as he dislikes facing teams from the same league.

‘I don’t wish for nothing but in general I like it in Champions League not to play teams from your own league,’ the Chelsea manager told BT Sport.

‘Because it gets a bit more the feeling of the European competition but that’s the only thing. ‘Whover deserves it – I think the game is far from over – but I will watch it for sure.

‘It’s a pleasure to watch it as semi-finalists, a great achievement. Tomorrow we will watch these games and there is nothing decided yet. Everything is possible.

‘Liverpool is very strong at home, the Premier League is strong. We take what we get, it’s a good situation for us.’

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