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Kovacic, Christensen back in contention as Tuchel urges focus, patience, positivity

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Loud and clear message ahead of the Leicester game

Chelsea Training and Press Conference Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

When it rains, it pours.

The rains of misery started with a disappointing midweek loss to Arsenal, followed by a gut-wrenching loss in the FA Cup final against Leicester City on Saturday, and by Sunday, it was absolutely bucketing down as Chelsea capitulated in a harrowing 4-0 loss against Barcelona in the Women’s Champions League final. Oh, and meanwhile Liverpool managed to close in on fourth position, and with a much easier schedule in the last two games than us.

But this is not the time to lose heart as Chelsea face Leicester City once again, in the second of four “finals” with top-four fates hanging in the balance. As Thomas Tuchel urged in today’s pre-match press conference, it’s time to stay positive and (re-)focus. Chelsea still control our own destiny, despite dropping three points last time out.

“The situation is very clear: it’s still in our hands. So this is very positive and what we worked hard for. We approach the game more or less like any other game, the more tension is on the more normal approach we use. There are a lot of talks around what happens, so we have to stay focused on what we can influence. We approach this game like any other game, with a clear win and desire to win.”

“[The setback] was the Arsenal game. It was our fault that it is so close again. We left the door open and Liverpool put their foot into the door. This is what they do. They are a strong team and anyway, we had a huge effort to overcome them before. It was a huge gap but we did what we could to overtake them. We can be aware of this huge performance that we did so far but we want to finish the job.

“We need to re-focus today and forget all the other results and rely on ourselves because we are in a lucky situation where we can rely on ourselves and not look at other grounds.”

Chelsea do have pretty much a fully fit squad, barring the exact statuses of Mateo Kovacic and Andreas Christensen. Tuchel hinted at both of them being back in contention, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, while also explaining how he has to leave players out thanks to a large squad and few injuries at the moment. Of course that doesn’t actually explain why one of those players is almost always Tammy Abraham, but apparently this is not the time to complain about that.

"Well, it’s just the amount of people that I can nominate for a game. I decided to start Timo Werner in the number nine role, so we had Kai [Havertz] and Olivier Giroud on the bench, so we decided not to have three number nines on the bench. This is it, it’s never personal.

“When Kova [Mateo Kovacic] and Andreas Christensen, maybe, come back into the squad, I need to figure out the squad and maybe eliminate two more players. This is the worst day and the worst decision for me in the whole week because since I arrived here everybody deserves to be in the squad.

“I understand [Abraham’s] frustration and it was not the first time. We have other guys with the same situation to face. This is not the moment to complain, and this is not the moment to explain too much. This is the moment just to live in the moment. These are the two decisive weeks now of the whole season.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London

That much is definitely true. How we reflect on this season will be ultimately decided by the last four games, the last four “finals”. We already lost one, but if we win the other three, the season will still be a major success.

Let’s go!