Thomas Tuchel has opened up on Ben Chilwell’s absence from the Chelsea side and has offered updates on the fitness of N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic.
Chilwell has not featured for Chelsea so far this season, with the left-back having been an unused substitute in each of the Blues’ four Premier League fixtures, in addition to during the UEFA Super Cup win over Villarreal.
The defender’s last competitive appearance came during last season’s Champions League final, after Chilwell failed to make an appearance for England during their Euro 2020 campaign this summer.
Chelsea will begin the defence of their Champions League crown against Zenit St Petersburg tomorrow and ahead of the clash Tuchel has explained Chilwell’s continued absence from the side.
“It’s been difficult for him, from a Champions League win, then it was individually for him a tough Euros because he felt he could have played a part for England,” Tuchel said at his pre-match press conference.
“Then to keep training for four or five weeks then he had a personal break which is difficult.
“When I arrived I felt he was mentally tired which is unlucky because Marcos Alonso had a full pre-season.
“We had some talks with him and no further worries with him, he’s training and he just needs to be patient. He’s in the race now and with a good mental attitude.”
Tuchel confirmed that Christian Pulisic is yet to rejoin the main group as the winger recovers from an ankle injury sustained on international duty, whilst N’Golo Kante will also not feature despite nearing a return.
“Pulisic did not train with us still in individual training,” said the Blues boss.
“Kante had two training sessions, this game comes a bit too early so we decided to give him another session so he can be absolutely fit for Tottenham.”
The German also discussed the prospect of Chelsea’s fringe players featuring against Zenit, insisting that all his players must be ‘ready’ and confirming that Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Malang Sarr are in the squad for the clash at Stamford Bridge.
“If you get registered it’s your duty to be ready, you need to be ready here every day when you step on the training pitch, it’s the basis,” he said.
“Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Malang Sarr is in the squad.
“Now they have to be match ready, I have a feeling that they are, they have a good mentality that’s why they’ll be on the list or on the bench.”