Chelsea take on Norwich City tomorrow in a weirdly timed midweek Premier League match, as if there isn’t enough weird and momentous things happening around the club these days already. And much like the weekend’s contest, it’s yet another potentially frustrating trap game, away to the worst team in the league whom we already beat 7-0 (seven!) earlier this season. They may have changed coaches since, but their results have not improved markedly.
And there’s some bad news as well with regards to Reece James, who has picked up another potentially worrying injury of some sort, and this time on the opposite leg. James had just made his first start in two months against Burnley, and while it’s normal to have a reaction after such a long time out, Tuchel sounds a bit more worried than that, especially as it’s on the other leg (i.e. the one that may have been a bit overworked as a natural consequence of not being able to the use the other to its full capacity).
“[Reecey] has a muscular problem after his three matches — not his injured leg, the other leg. We need examination. We thought he could be on the pitch today but he couldn’t. We need further examination to see what is going on.
“He felt it during the match [against Burnley] so that’s why we took him out and it didn’t get better. So we are worried. But still, we need some more details and some more information. It was obvious what he gives to our team and can give to our team. So it’s not good news at the moment.”
Just another challenge then, adding to the other challenges of keeping the focus firmly on football and ensuring that the squad play with that level of focus consistently even if there is nothing immediately tangible on the line.
“[It] would be a big mistake to draw any conclusions from [the 7-0]. We did not use it in preparation, we will not use it. We analyse the last matches from Norwich. They have a new coach. They have a new style in defending and approaching the game. A lot has changed. This should not affect our minds. This is absolutely clear.
“It’s very important to consistently forget too much praise and stay humble, keep on going again, again and again in this kind of league. This is what the two top club, two top teams show since years. This is where we want to join. If we want to join, of course.
“[Norwich] are the underdogs. They have nothing to lose, these are these kinds of situations. We handle these very well, we know what it takes. It is on us to deliver.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
With two games in four days in the league and then the second leg against Lille in the Champions League, we need to keep delivering indeed.