The Chelsea squad were spotted taking in the sites of Lille ahead of their Champions League clash on Wednesday night. N’Golo Kante and Romelu Lukaku were part of the travelling squad that made the trip across the English channel to the French city as Thomas Tuchel’s side look to hammer home their 2-0 advantage in rather different circumstances.
Since Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic netted in that first leg win, Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned and the every day running of the club has changed. The Blues are now restricted to paying a maximum of £20,000 on travel to away fixtures, which will no doubt impact the squad between now and the end of the season.
Thankfully, this Lille trip was booked well in advance of sanctions being imposed meaning the government couldn’t intervene but more problematic things can be seen just around the corner with potential Middlesbrough disruptions. Tuchel had already said that he would drive a ‘seven seater’ if needed for this one but it is understood as mentioned in the Sky Sports report that the team were able to catch the plane and stay in five star accommodation as planned.
“It isn’t about luxury and bling-bling. This is just a professional level of sports, where we play with two days between matches with our opponent having four days between matches and we arrive with the possibilities of injuries. For that, it is better to arrive with a plan rather than a bus,” Tuchel said on the importance of good travel ahead of Lille in his press conference. “We try to do it. From my understanding, we have a framework to go and play in Lille with absolutely no excuses. Regarding these organisations, it is already more difficult to arrange things on a professional level, in the best way possible, for the FA Cup. But we will deal with it.
“As long as we have shirts and are alive as a team, we will be competitive and fight hard for our success. We owe it to the people who support us in a very invisible way. Of course, we are in the spotlight and it is our responsibility to do so. We will do it.” For the Boro game that is on the horizon this weekend, the luxury won’t be glamorous with the squad facing a gruelling trip up north, therefore it’s no wonder that the squad on the whole looked rather happy on the whole for their pre-match walk on Wednesday morning.
This is with the exception of Lukaku who Sky reporter Gary Cotterill, who was reporting live from France, described as not looking ‘perhaps the happiest.’ Elsewhere on the walk, Kepa Arrizabalaga was filmed with a cup of tea/coffee in his hand whilst the captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who was pictured in Tuesday training, was taking extra precautions on the walk as he decided to wear a face mask for safety reasons to protect against the ever-lingering Covid 19.
As the clip played on, the most noticeable player was undoubtedly Kante who was being asked to sign shirts for local fans and he was spotted doing this with a huge grin on his face. Despite Lille fans only having the connection with Chelsea’s humble midfielder on the international level, with the midfielder winning the World Cup and the Nations League title with his country, it’s no wonder that the home fans were wanting the 30-year-old to sign their jerseys before the battle starts at 8:00pm.