Thomas Tuchel has opened up on striker Tammy Abraham’s recent exclusion from the Chelsea squad, amid the Blues current stellar run of form.
After a sensational campaign in the 2018/19 season with Aston Villa in the Championship, Abraham was brought into the first-team fold under Frank Lampard last season, going on to net an impressive 15 Premier League goals.
However, after a slight dip in form at the start of 2020, the Englishman found himself replaced by the evergreen Olivier Giroud, while the arrival of Timo Werner in the summer has further limited his game time.
The change in manager back in January, in particular, has been a key factor in losing his place in the Chelsea side, with Tuchel opting at times for a more fluid attacking approach and has deployed the likes of Kai Havertz and Mason Mount in false nine roles in recent games.
With the Blues currently in the midst of a 13-game unbeaten run and through to the Champions League quarter-finals – where they were handed a decent draw – Abraham has been unable to force his way back into the team, while injury has also played its part.
According to Tuchel, the forward has been carrying a slight knock in recent weeks and thus hasn’t felt ‘fully free’ to perform at his best.
“We had some talks to encourage him to never give in, to accept the situation, to not overthink it, to just come back to the situation where the striker must not overthink it,” Tuchel said at his pre-match press conference.
“He just needs to be in the flow and if the team is winning without him then you can feel a little bit excluded.
“But it’s not like this with him so hopefully he can be back now, back in the squad, be totally free and there’s some hard choices and he’s a part of the group.
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“It’s been hard for him because he’s never felt fully free, never felt fully painless after this tackle so it was hard for him to really perform on the level that you need to perform in training to convince your coach to leave somebody else out.”
The 23-year-old has been left out of the matchday squad of 20 for the last five games, with the former Paris Saint-Germain boss admitting it has been a mixture of injury and tactical changes which have led to his exclusion.
“I think we started the Man United game with Oli Giroud, maybe Timo from the bench and maybe it was a tactical choice from a position wise.
“He had a bit of a tough time because he started twice for us in the league, got substituted twice, didn’t have the easiest games, couldn’t find the momentum and once he got the bad tackle then suddenly the momentum shifted a little bit.
“He suffers a little bit from me not finding the real formation up front. It’s a bit more complex because I have to get to know the team better.
“Sometimes we play with wingers, sometimes we play with players with No10 profiles, we have Timo who can play as a No 9, Oli and Kai who can play No 9 so he suffers a little bit from all these circumstances and it’s not his fault. Maybe more my fault than his fault.”