Football: Chelsea 'lucky' to qualify for Champions League, says Tuchel after loss to Villa

Chelsea qualified for next season's Champions League despite a 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BIRMINGHAM (REUTERS) - Chelsea breathed a sigh of relief after claiming a top-four spot on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday (May 23) but they were given a scare with goalkeeper Edouard Mendy suffering an injury six days before the Champions League final.

Mendy, an impressive performer this term, was replaced at half-time in the 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa after suffering a knock while trying to save Bertrand Traore's goal.

Kepa Arrizabalaga replaced Mendy.

"It is easy to handle (but) he fell into the frame of the net. He feels a big pain in his ribs," Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said. "We will have an update tomorrow with what's going on. We will see if it is possible and if it is possible, we will push to do everything so he is in goal on Saturday."

Chelsea face Manchester City in the Champions League final in Porto where they will at least have the comfort of knowing they do not need to win the trophy to confirm a return to the competition next season.

That would have been the case had Leicester City beaten Tottenham Hotspur but the Foxes lost 4-2 at home. Even so it was an unsatisfactory way for Chelsea to scramble into fourth place.

"We are lucky that Tottenham did the job for us and finished the job for us today," Tuchel, whose unbeaten away record since joining Chelsea in January came to an end, told reporters.

"We came to win and to put any doubts to the side but it was not possible. That it was possible to end in the top four even with a defeat was because of the team's hard work and consistently good results.

"We need to adjust details and we need to be spot-on on Saturday as we want a positive outcome."

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