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Aubameyang, Kanté, Zakaria unavailable but Tuchel ready to start the Chelsea season now

Here we go match number one!

Southampton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

The transfer window has slammed shut. Chelsea spent a record amount (unless you factor in inflation) to reshape and round out the squad. The ownership have lived to their end of the bargain to the best of their abilities and spreadsheet wizardry — now it’s time for the coaches and the players to do the same.

Ready to start the season then!

Of course, we’re technically five games in already, but after two wins, two defeats, and one draw, the only thing we’ve learned is that we’ve not been good enough. Preseason’s over, fellas!

Transfer Tsar Thomas Tuchel’s ready to focus as well. No more distractions!

“We need to use the end of the transfer period and simply the energy and stability it gives you when you know which is the group of players who are in the squad and who fights for what. We will use the stability we need to grow the group and influence each other in a positive way. We will use this momentum.

“[We] will use it as a new start, it is needed. We have our reasons why it is like this, but we need to leave it behind us and not think too much about what was going wrong. We have the chance to start the season new tomorrow, with a home game, with the players we have and the players that are available and I have the feeling that everyone is ready to show up.”

Tuchel has talked a fair bit about the transfer window being a distraction, and while that may come across as an excuse, it’s also a reasonable explanation for the lack of focus and lack of inspiration we’ve seen from both the players and, at times, the coaches as well.

Southampton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

And whether we agree with that explanation or not, Tuchel appears to be banking heavily on it being an early turning point for our season.

“For me, it was more important to wait until today [to talk heart-to-heart with the squad] and from now on, we will do everything we can to influence this group to the way we want to sharpen our attitude to a level that is needed to be competitive on a higher level. We believe we can be more competitive than we are at the moment. It’s on me to bring it out of the group and it’s on the players to bring it out on the pitch.”

“[The] focus shifts completely now to the team, coaching, influencing and pushing the team to a limit.”

Unfortunately, we will be without a few key players still, including N’Golo Kanté who remains out with a hamstring injury, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who may be out for a few more weeks with a fractured jaw, and Denis Zakaria, who’s still working on his work permit after his last-minute deadline day signing.

On the plus side, Reece James is back from illness and both Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Trevoh Chalobah are expected to be available despite dealing with injuries midweek.

“[For Zakaria] we need to work on the work permit. He will not be in the squad for tomorrow – it’s too close. We hope for Tuesday and then for Fulham.

“[Loftus-Cheek and James are] back in training and are both available. So in the moment, it’s only N’Golo out. Everyone else is available. We had a group of 19 players [in training]. Then it will be 21 players with Auba and Denis.”

Chelsea Training Session Photo by Harriet Lander - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

As ever, regardless of who plays, we have to show massive improvement in just about every regard: physical and mental, in terms of consistency, and in terms of focus and belief.

“[We] need to step up. We have how many games to go in the Premier League. If we don’t get tough in the Premier League, then we will get punished all the way. This is not what we want, this is not what we are up to. We will show a reaction.

“It’s proven we can do it with this group. We need to find that spirit and we need to find the right spirit and attitude throughout all the matches. That includes me, my staff and the team. Like I said, we need to use the momentum because we know who is in the squad. From now on, we need to show a new face and a new toughness.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London

The season starts here!

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