Thomas Tuchel has done a great job in not only getting results at Chelsea thus far, but also utilizing the majority of what is a large and rather bloated squad of 24 (with a league-best fitness record), not counting all the youngsters waiting in the wings, ready for some senior minutes as well. Even with a congested schedule, it’s not easy to play more than 14-15 players regularly, and still maintain high, consistent, and winning levels of performance.
Inevitably however, some have been left out more often than others. Tammy Abraham comes to mind immediately, but Christian Pulisic is in a similar situation, while Emerson, while often on the bench to warm a seat, has played literally just once in eleven games so far, in the FA Cup. Abraham, whose contract situation has been in question for well over a year, has had an ankle injury concern as well, to complicate matters, though that hasn’t stopped any of the outside concerns or budding exit-rumors either.
As Tuchel tells it, all three of those players (see also: Billy Gilmour) have been a bit unlucky in a way, and on the ends of unfair decisions from himself.
“I can say nothing else but good things about [Pulisic]. Maybe his biggest problem is that I know him from Dortmund and I think he started only in the cup games. It is my responsibility and it is a bit unfair but I know what impact he can have in the last 20 or 30 minutes. He was a bit unlucky in the last few games. It isn’t a lack of trust or quality, it is just that he will have to be patient.
“I have another guy who I would love to mention in Emerson who suffers from bad decisions by me. He does not play but he is an amazing guy who trains at the highest level and he never lets the team down with his mentality. It was a super hard decision today to have him out of the squad, the same with Tammy.
“It is like this, we have a strong group. The guys have to keep on fighting. There’s no other way.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
This is the (Tuchel) way.
Obviously, no one can be patient forever. Marcos Alonso and Olivier Giroud have seen their patience pay off, but those are not necessarily the normal, expected outcomes in such situations. And both of those players are a fair bit older than the three in question (even Emerson’s just 26). Patience is an old man’s game.
So it’s of no surprise that the Pulisic exit-rumors are gearing up as well, with the Daily Mail conjuring an “exclusive” about how Manchester United, Liverpool, and Bayern Munich are all “on alert” in case Pulisic’s situation devolves any further at Chelsea. Good job, Pulisic’s agent!
Of course, Chelsea are unlikely to be willing to let the 22-year-old go anytime soon (and for anything but an outsized fee), and we surely don’t have to wait too long to hear rumors to that effect. Pulisic has had to deal with more than his fair share of injuries thus far in his two seasons at the Bridge, but he’s certainly shown his qualities as well, especially during last summer’s Project Restart. With a young and exciting squad full of quality attacking players, there will surely be a big role for Pulisic to play as well.