UCL: Chelsea youngsters on the mark as the Blues rout Juventus
- Chelsea thumped Juventus 4-0 on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge
- Youngsters Trevoh Chalobah, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi found the net
- "The crowd loves it," Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said
Chelsea thumped Juventus 4-0 on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge to reach the UEFA Champions League knockout stage as their three academy graduates combined to enter the scoresheet and cap off the perfect night.
Youngsters Trevoh Chalobah, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi found the net before the hour mark. "The crowd loves it," Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said. "This is what makes the team special. Not only superstars from abroad but also the guys from the academy full of quality and humble."
Timo Werner, one of the international superstars, completed the thrashing against a Juventus team that had already qualified for the last 16.
Getting a pipeline of talent from the development system to the first squad has long been a concern at a club that has depended on Roman Abramovich's money to invest substantially in transfers during the course of his 18-year ownership.
Since last year, about $400 million has been spent on acquisitions alone — including Werner — yet five homegrown players played against Juventus, including Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who set up a goal, and Mason Mount, who came off the bench.
"It’s a pleasure to have these boys," Tuchel said. "I strongly believe it’s a huge part of the success to have the mix between home grown talents and top players."
In contrast, Juventus' team in west London lacks academy graduates, which might be symptomatic of the club's issues. Inter Milan not only ended its nine-year reign as Italian champions last season, but the club also had to sell fresh shares to raise 400 million euros ($450 million) this year and is currently in ninth position in Serie A.
Juventus, at the very least, can count on continuing in the Champions League, having already qualified for the round of 16 before travelling to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea, on the other hand, is now in first place in Group H, owing to a better head-to-head record against Juventus with one game remaining.
With inputs from the Associated Press