Chelsea will compete in next season’s UEFA Champions League regardless of the outcome of this Saturday’s final against Manchester City in Portugal.
That is because the Blues, who will make their first Champions League final appearance since 2012, wrapped up a top four berth in the Premier League yesterday afternoon, despite suffering a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Goals from former Chelsea winger Bertrand Traore and Anwar El Ghazi fired Dean Smith’s side into a 2-0 lead, before the Blues pulled a goal back through left-back Ben Chilwell.
However, that was not enough to prevent the Blues from suffering a third defeat in their last four matches in league and cup. But they still found a route into the top four and Champions League for next term thanks to Tottenham Hotspur’s come-from-behind 4-2 win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
That meant that Thomas Tuchel’s side finished fourth, with the Foxes forced to settle for fifth for the second season in a row.
Assessing his side’s performance after the full time whistle, Tuchel said: “I knew it maybe three or four minutes before our game was over because the game at Leicester was over a bit earlier, so we knew about the result and that it was clear we were through.
“It was our main target but clearly, we did not play or prepare for the occasion today. We prepared for the match and the target was to win the match and I think that, again, we are absolutely able to win this match.
“It is normally so, so hard to create chances and to score against Aston Villa but we created a lot, many deliveries. They are still a young team and we try to evolve and to make them better, learn from every game but it has been our story throughout the season.
With a top four berth now secured, albeit by receiving a helping hand from elsewhere, Chelsea can now look forward to the meeting with City this coming weekend with less pressure on their shoulders.