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No sentiment, only ‘very best solution’ for Chelsea in League Cup final, assures Tuchel

Pre-match thoughts from the bossman

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

Chelsea have a fully fit squad, other than Ben Chilwell and maybe Reece James, for Sunday’s League Cup final against recently rampant Liverpool.

The former is of course out long-term (though did post a video of himself already doing some light ball-work!) while the latter is back in training but perhaps not quite fit enough to start yet. Everyone else is good to go, at this minute, including both Mateo Kovačić and Hakim Ziyech.

“We had training today with everybody out on the pitch except for Ben Chilwell, which is brilliant news. [Kova and Hakim] both okay since today. They were not out on the pitch with separate programmes, everybody joined team training from the first to the last minute.

“[Reecey] looked brilliant in the last two training sessions, let’s wait another session and let’s see if I’m crazy enough to put him on the pitch or if the reasonable side of me wins in the end and we go step by step. It would be a huge step but honestly today, he looked so strong, so confident, and so involved in training that I am tempted to do it. Let’s see. We have a bit of time and the most important thing is he’s back and he feels confident that he can step up a level like he did yesterday and today.

“There are still two days to go and then we will take the decision.”

That was one of the themes of the press conference, acknowledging the big decisions that have to be made but either not ready to make them yet (since we have at least one more session to go before the game) or not ready or willing to reveal them in public (because why would we)?

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

The one with the most attention on him is of course Romelu Lukaku, but we also have the situation at goalkeeper, where Kepa Arrizabalaga got us to this point, literally at times with this penalty saves, but Édouard Mendy is the clear first-choice. And we have big choices to make in midfield and in attack in general as well.

For Tuchel however, sentiment must not and cannot enter these decisions.

“The focus is hugely on Romelu, but the situation is more or less the same for Jorginho. Sometimes it’s not fair, sometimes it’s a bit too much. Both of them understand themselves as team players, and I understand the huge focus, but the things inside are very clear, the decisions are made clear, the players accept them. And once you play for Chelsea you accept that the team comes first.”

“[Havertz] done enough to justify [a start]? That is a clear yes. Does that mean he needs to start and will start? No. We will also decide this later.”

“[For Kepa] it’s a pretty similar situation now [as in the Club World Cup]. Kepa did fantastic in the period where we had to be without Edou, and so it’s an uncomfortable and very comfortable situation at the same time. [He] absolutely deserves to play and I cannot get sentimental about it. I have to do what in the end is in my opinion the very best solution for the team.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London

So say we all.