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Tuchel confirms ‘massive player’ to return to Chelsea squad and discusses his midfield ‘headache’

Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Kalidou Koulibaly will slot straight back into the side, though admits he has an unwanted selection headache in midfield.

Chelsea take on Southampton on the South Coast on Tuesday night and will be able to welcome Koulibaly back to the side after he served his one-match suspension following his red card picked up in the 3-0 loss against Leeds.

 

Speaking ahead of the game, Blues boss Tuchel described the Senegalese as a ‘massive player’ for his side, hailing his influence and leadership.

“He will play at Southampton, he will be on the pitch,” said Tuchel. “He’s a massive player for us.

“I already see him emerging as a leader. He’s a fantastic player, a fantastic personality, and I’m so happy with what I see, how he behaves, how he trains.

“I see a lot of quality and everything that is needed to be a leading figure at Chelsea.”

The club will, however, be without Conor Gallagher for the trip to Southampton after he saw,a first-half red card in the 2-1 win over Leicester at the weekend. The German admits his suspension gives him an unwanted ‘headache’ in midfield, with N’Golo Kante missing through injury, while Mateo Kovacic has only just returned to training.

“It’s the area where normally I would love to have a headache who plays and who is on the bench. I thought we could have five players who could all play for us, and have on top Carney as an option as a young player.

“The headache before the season was ‘do we have too many players there?’. It comes to the fifth game and we have only two left with experience in this position, and Kova from the bench. At the moment he’s not ready to play full matches at Premier League level. He has only had one week of training after his injury.

“It’s a strange situation and one we don’t like. It’s like this and we will have something to think about – or maybe not because it’s so obvious who we have left!”

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