Chelsea wary of minnows Malmo's Scandinavian traits

LONDON • Football managers can hardly catch their breath nowadays. Even when they are on their breaks during the off-season, they are still always thinking about football.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is a good example. When asked about their less-heralded Swedish opponents Malmo yesterday ahead of today's Champions League clash, he associated them with his holiday in Sweden.

"I remember a very nice holiday in Stockholm. Beautiful city, it was a very relaxing holiday," the German said on the Football London website, before linking the Swedish culture to football.

"The Scandinavian style of living, of thinking outside the box is very impressive and it is something you can feel in their approach in sport.

"When you play them you feel they are confident, not shy of trying new ways to reach their personal best level. It is inspiring."

The 48-year-old has also done his homework on Malmo.

He added: "In general they are a team that are confident. Still they have a certain style and they trust it. We absolutely should not underestimate them. We respect them as much as any team."

The Blues are second in Group H on three points, level with Zenit St Petersburg and three behind leaders Juventus. Malmo are bottom with zero points and have not scored a single goal so far.

Chelsea's defence of their Champions League title started with last month's 1-0 win over Zenit with Romelu Lukaku scoring.

The Belgian striker, who joined in the summer, is going through a six-game goal drought in all competitions and will be hoping to end that unwanted run today.

When asked if Lukaku is still adjusting to life at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel said: "Yes, we are in the process of adapting to each other. It is my opinion I feel Romelu is a bit overplayed, he played too many games over the summer."

The Chelsea boss will be missing Christian Pulisic because of an ankle injury, while Antonio Rudiger and Hakim Ziyech are back in training following a back issue and illness respectively.

Malmo, meanwhile, are finding it tough in the competition, suffering heavy losses to Juventus (3-0) and Zenit (4-0).

To add to their woes, they have a long injury list to deal with - Oscar Lewicki, Jonas Knudsen and Ola Toivonen are all sidelined with knee issues, while Felix Beijmo has a collarbone injury.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2021, with the headline 'Chelsea wary of minnows Malmo's Scandinavian traits'. Subscribe