Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel admitted Champions League qualification is more important than winning the FA Cup.
After missing out on the FA Cup trophy to Leicester City on Saturday, Chelsea and the Foxes will lock horns again in a blockbuster Premier League clash on Tuesday.
Chelsea are fourth in the table, only a point above fifth-placed Liverpool with two rounds remaining, while Leicester are third and two points better off than Tuchel’s side.
As Liverpool lurk, Tuchel talked up the importance of securing a spot in Europe’s premier club competition next season, which can also be clinched if Chelsea beat Manchester City in the Champions League final on May 29.
“I am not a good loser but I want to be a respectful loser and I am not here to play the match [the FA Cup final] down because of financial reasons,” he said.
“We lost a big match, it was a huge match for us, we put out the best team possible, we did not rest anybody because we had the feeling that this game tomorrow is more important.
“But there is a but. Do we want to play Champions League next season? Yes, this is the target when I stepped into this club. I want to be very clear, the task was, ‘let’s try everything to be in the top four’.
“The task was not, ‘let’s try everything to win the FA Cup’ because the FA Cup, as big as it is, does not bring you to Champions League football next season. It’s the top four that brings us that.
“So, yes, tomorrow is another huge game. But like I said, the FA Cup final was big for us. Once you can collect silverware you try everything simply out of respect.
“And me and the players – be very sure about this – we think zero about how much money we earn [by qualifying for the Champions League]. This is not in our heads.”
Chelsea are winless in their last six Premier League meetings with Leicester (D4 L2), having won nine of their previous 11 against them in the competition (D1 L1).
Meanwhile, Chelsea have not lost their final home league game in any of the last 18 seasons (W12 D6), since losing 3-1 against Aston Villa in the 2001-02 campaign.