Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel admits that events in Ukraine are weighing on his conscience as he attempts to prepare for Sunday's Carabao Cup final against Liverpool.
The game will be the Blues' first outing since Russia invaded Ukraine this past week to set off a global crisis that has led to emotional statements around the football world.
On Saturday, moreover, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who is Russian, signalled his intention to step back from operations and hand over stewardship of the club to trustees.
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What was said?
“Clearly [the match will act as a distraction], but still, because the war is so close, so fresh, maybe it comes with a little bit of a bad conscience on Sunday,” Tuchel signalled to reporters in the build-up to the game.
“Like, are we allowed to fully engage, fully celebrate? Or would it be inappropriate? This is how I feel about it because it’s so new and fresh. It’s a mixed feeling I have to say.”
Chelsea's mentality entering cup final
Tuchel also rejected the notion that the club could use any critical voices towards it as extra motivation for Sunday's decider.
“I know what you mean and sometimes we use these things, like when a decision goes against you or you feel treated unfairly, to build this sort of mentality to protect you, your team, your staff and build a strong crew to shield yourself from the influences and unfairness from outside," he added.
“In this case, the issue is too big.
"I see the point but if you give it a second thought, how does it help now if we lose a football match given the situation that we have a war? This is simply not important enough and it will unfortunately not help. If it would, I am happy to lose the match."