Thomas Tuchel says Frank Lampard vital in Chelsea reaching Champions League final

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel praises Frank Lampard for laying the foundations for the club's journey to the Champions League final; Lampard guided Chelsea through unbeaten group stage; Tuchel has no preference over venue for final, with Portugal and London both now options

Image: Chelsea went through the Champions League group stages unbeaten under Frank Lampard

Thomas Tuchel says he will always be grateful to Frank Lampard for his work in helping Chelsea reach this season's Champions League final.

Tuchel replaced Lampard at Stamford Bridge in January and has guided the Blues from ninth to third in the Premier League table and finals in the Champions League and FA Cup.

Chelsea take on London rivals Arsenal on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports, as Tuchel's side aim to cement their place in the top four before facing Leicester in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

On May 29, Chelsea face Manchester City in the final of the Champions League, and Tuchel is in no doubts about the vital role his predecessor played in helping the club reach the biggest game of the season in European football.

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"You can only arrive in a Champions League final if you make it through the group stage and Frank had an amazing record in the group stage," said Tuchel. "This lays the foundations for getting to the final and I will never forget this.

"From the first day when I came in here I was aware that Frank created his own legacy at Chelsea and it is well deserved. When I came in it was halfway through the season and it was about continuing the job he had done.

"He is one of the big, big players and the key figures of this club and when you think about Chelsea you think about Frank Lampard.

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Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel
Image: Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has led Chelsea to the finals of the FA Cup and Champions League

"One or two days after I arrived he sent me a message and wished me all the best - that was very nice to receive and it was very polite. I was very happy to get that message."

The Champions League final is currently scheduled to be played at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, but Turkey is in the grip of a surge in coronavirus cases and has been added to the UK's 'red list' of countries with the most severe travel restrictions.

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The UK government held talks with UEFA on Monday about potentially moving the match to Wembley Stadium, but a considerable sticking point exists over waiving quarantine rules for visiting delegates, broadcasters and sponsors and Portugal has emerged as an increasingly likely option to stage the game.

When asked if he had a preference where the match was played, Tuchel said: "No, absolutely not. The preference is to play it and to arrive wherever we need to arrive.

"The good thing for me is we have top guys on the subject, in talks with UEFA and this is good for me because they will inform us whatever it is."

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