Chelsea's draw against Leeds and some favourable results over the weekend have ensured Chelsea would finish the Premier League matchweek 29 in the top four. The focus shifts immediately towards the second leg of the Champions League Round of Sixteen as we take on Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge, with the away goal advantage.
Tuchel namedropped two key absentees from the matchday squad, namely Mason Mount and Jorginho who miss out due to yellow card accumulation. Tuchel is concerned about the loss of both players especially Mount, who is key to exploiting the spaces between the lines that will be scarce on offer given Atlético's compact style but is confident that the team can adapt well to see the game out.
"We have no fresh injuries but we are are without two key players for us tomorrow in Mount and Jorginho."
"Especially with Mason for his offensive skills and his power to break the lines with strong dribbling and his shots. Atletico are one of the best teams in Europe for not giving shooting chances away, so of course it’s a blow to miss an offensive player for a game such as this one.
"They are important players for us but we have a strong group and we have to adapt and find solutions to this."
Besides Mount and Jorginho, Chelsea will be without Thiago Silva and Tammy Abraham, who have failed to recover completely from their muscular and ankle injuries, respectively.
Tuchel expects the duo to make use of the upcoming international break and recover on time to join the matchday squad against West Bromwich Albion, the first game following the break. Meanwhile, the five substitution rule of the Champions League will come in handy for making the tactical and personnel changes necessary to cope with the loss of these key players.
"We also need to work without Thiago Silva and Tammy Abraham for this game. They are not quite right yet but with an international break now coming, I don’t think there is too much risk in me saying that we expect them to join us again after the international break.
"So we are missing four key players for this game but that makes the selection a little bit easier, because we can select 23 players in the Champions League.
"We will use the whole squad. We can make five substitutes during the match, so we have a clear idea of what we can do."
- Thomas Tuchel; source: Chelsea FC
Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, have received a significant boost with the return of three important players from injury and that will make the second leg trickier to navigate.
Come what may, Tuchel is ready with a plan.
"For me I expect more or less the same like in Bucharest, they have Trippier, Jimenez and Carrasco back, that changes a little the structure and style of attacking.
"It gives them the freedom to attack with Carrasco and Trippier on the side. Llorente is available on the half positions, so that changes their approach a little.
"But in general I expect more or less the same. A team which is hard to play against, hard to find spaces behind the lines, and behind the last lines, and for sure super hard to create chances.
"It's a big challenge for us like in the first leg, but we played an amazing match there and we want to repeat the same performance to be able to go through.We know how hard it is to beat Atletico but this is our plan."
- Thomas Tuchel; source: football.london
Chelsea have the chance to progress into the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the first time since 2014 under Jose Mourinho, when Chelsea bowed out to Atletico in the semifinals.
Let's complete the job that's half done!