The rhythm of Chelsea’s excellent, unbeaten start to the season was rudely interrupted by the international break, which was even longer and busier than usual, with some players returning only today, barely 24 hours before our match against Aston Villa tomorrow night at Stamford Bridge.
Clearly, that’s not an ideal situation, and it’s not made better by the old injury to N’Golo Kanté, the new injury to Christian Pulisic, or the uncertainty around Thiago Silva. While Tuchel still doesn’t know if Silva will be officially eligible, he’s ruled out the other two, with Pulisic set to miss at least 10 days. The prognosis on Kanté is much better, while Romelu Lukaku’s thigh issue is apparently not a concern.
“Unfortunately we have two players out: N’Golo Kanté and Christian Pulisic. They came back both injured. Well, N’Golo got injured against Liverpool and still suffers a little bit. We’ll try with N’Golo for Tuesday, this looks pretty good.
“For Christian, he came back yesterday [from international duty] on crutches. He has an ankle injury with about 10 days out.
“Maybe [Lukaku] had some problems, but he came back two days ago and yesterday he trained with us and today he trained fully no problem. So no problem there at all.”
In addition to the injuries, we must now also recover our rhythm and focus. Many of the players have been focused on things other than Chelsea the last two weeks, but now we must have their full commitment again, and not a moment too soon.
“Yesterday and today, the building was more or more full. Today, was the first day, we have done it but it is not the nicest situation. You lack the feeling and rhythm. Everyone has come from different trips, different styles of play, demanding games and experiences. But in the end, once we enter the meeting room and watch video sequences from us and Aston Villa, I demand full focus and motivation. This is us and this is what we are up to.
“We are playing at the highest level and we play for Chelsea. When you arrive on Friday morning, no matter if you are tired, you accept it. That’s no matter how tough your trip was, accept it and be fully focused and motivated. This is how I felt the team on the training pitch and we pushed them. [...] This is an obstacle to overcome, the challenge for tomorrow and we want to be on our highest level and we will not accept any excuses from us.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Say a little, do a lot, no excuses!