Chris Wilder makes a joke at Chelsea’s expense while he insists there’s very little sympathy for the situation they find themselves in.
The Middlesbrough manager suggested that the once mega-rich club might need to ‘look down the back of the settee’ to find enough money to pay for their trip to Teesside for the FA Cup quarter-final this weekend.
The two sides meet at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday evening amid Chelsea being plunged into uncertainty by the UK government’s sanctions on owner Roman Abramovich, and this is imposed due to his links with Vladimir Putin after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Chelsea disrespected Middlesbrough earlier this week when the club asked the Football Association for the fixture to go ahead without fans ‘for matters of sporting integrity’ after they were not allowed to sell any more away tickets for the match.
The request caused quite the backlash, and after the FA initially said they would leave it a day before deciding whether or not to grant the Blues their wish, the governing body suddenly said a few hours later that it would be a firm no to Chelsea.
Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson branded the club ‘rotten’ and claimed ‘Chelsea and sporting integrity don’t belong in the same sentence’ in an interview with The Telegraph.
Chelsea are also unable to spend over £20,000 on match travel under the terms of the special licence they have been granted, prompting fears they would have to set on a 10-hour coach trip to North Yorkshire.
Manager Thomas Tuchel, who criticised the club’s request earlier this week, confirmed today that they would travel by plane.
‘They’ll be looking down the back of the settee this afternoon to see if they can find a couple of quid – I usually look at the golf bag, that’s where I keep a couple of quid just to keep it away from people – and chuck it into a pot to get up on the plane,’ Wilder said.
‘They’ll be up here, they’ll be alright. There’s not a lot of sympathy from my point of view towards Thomas and their players.
‘I’m sure their preparation will be absolutely spot-on.’
Wilder adds that he expects Chelsea will continue to enjoy similar levels of success to the Abramovich era once the Blues have been bought, with the deadline for bids for the West London outfit falling at 9pm on Friday.
‘For me, the noise that’s been coming out if it – the club is not in jeopardy, is it? It’s not a situation like a Macclesfield or a Bury in the football pyramid, what happened and shouldn’t really have happened,’ the Boro boss added.
Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder has described Chelsea’s now withdrawn request for Saturday’s FA Cup tie to be played behind closed doors as “bizarre” 😬 pic.twitter.com/yzo3VyCgJi
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) March 18, 2022
‘It will go up for sale and it will be bought by a billionaire, who will possibly invest more money into it, they’ll possibly invest in the stadium, invest in the facilities.
‘So I don’t think there’s, in the football world, an incredible amount of sympathy over what’s happening, really, and I don’t think Chelsea supporters would expect that as well.
‘It will be a short period before the takeover and Chelsea will go again and they’ll go on from strength to strength.’
Middlesbrough welcomed Anfernee Dijksteel back for the win over Birmingham, and Andraz Sporar and James Lea Siliki are both set to return from their illnesses here as well.
Wilder hasn’t got any fresh concerns to deal with, although Riley McGree and Martin Payero are still unable to play, and the Boro boss is expected to put out a familiar-looking 3-5-2 side with Balogun and Connolly playing at the tip of the attack.
Dijksteel could be fit enough play alongside Paddy McNair and Dael Fry, with Neil Taylor hoping to edge out Marc Bola for his place on the left.
As far as Chelsea are concerned, Andreas Christensen was taken off after 33 minutes against Lille due to a suspected muscular problem, and the Dane isn’t unlikely to be risked for the quarter-final.
Ben Chilwell continued his long road to recovery, and Tuchel will have to make late calls on the involvement of Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Saul Niguez and Ross Barkley also didn’t appear for the trip to Lille, with the former recently testing positive for Covid.
The long journey home and quick turnaround will inevitably lead to changes from Tuchel, who should consider recalls for Romelu Lukaku, Trevoh Chalobah and Mason Mount this weekend.
Middlesbrough FA Cup form:
Middlesbrough form (all competitions):
Chelsea FA Cup form:
Chelsea form (all competitions):
Twitter users reacted as Chris Wilder makes a joke at Chelsea’s expense while insists there’s little sympathy towards them…
@PsychoactiveF: He’s bang on, as was Gibson
@BaldDavid1967: It was a disgusting decision and whoever decided to put it in should be sacked. Boro don’t deserve it because of us
@TQfan: Exactly! And surely then, if this HAD happened, Chelsea would have wanted all away league games behind closed doors, too 🤔🤯🤣 seems absurd they only wanted it for the cup game 🤦🏻♀️
@kingstevegibson: I do love chris wilder
@patto1878: Chris Wilder 🤌🤌🤌 man of the people. He’s absolutely right.
@Philip_RJ89: He’s spot on. Chelsea won’t go to the wall. They’ll simply have to adapt to no longer having unlimited wealth to tap into. The club’s future will be just fine.
@callumjones9109: Some boy CW
@StuB53: Proper manager for Boro, breath of fresh air. So clued up and bang into the job
@colski11: He’s right though, if the club and players in particular want to fly, pay for it. At least one of them probably have a private jet lol
@CarefreeMikeZA: Looks like we have to humble this old git tomorrow
@chris_windsor: Middlesbrough are making Thomas Tuchel’s pre-match motivational speech very easy for him.
@KylePannebaker: I mean he’s not wrong lol
@TheBoroRamble: Let’s have it right, he’s bang on. There’s no sympathy for Chelsea & you’re not being hard done to. You have a world class manager, a squad of 30 world class players, will be bought soon by another billionaire and will continue winning trophies. Get on with it.