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Tuchel ready for ‘crucial’ period at Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea will ‘fight hard’ ahead of a ‘crucial’ run of fixtures for his side that begins with a clash against Arsenal on Wednesday.

Chelsea face their London rivals at Stamford Bridge this week in the first of a challenging run of games, with the West Londoners then facing fellow European hopefuls West Ham and Manchester United before a trip to struggling Everton in an 11-day period.

 

The Blues are third in the Premier League and in a strong position to secure Champions League football, but Tuchel has warned his side that ‘things can change quickly’ as Chelsea look to guarantee their position among Europe’s elite next season.

“We will fight hard,” he told his pre-match press conference. “We have a crucial four matches coming in a short period of time with Arsenal, West Ham, Man United and Everton. These are crucial matches for us given the task and what we want to achieve.

“It’s a big challenge physically but mentally to dive into the main competition that is Premier League. It seems like things are pretty safe [in the top four race] but things can change so, so quickly. We want to demand it from the team and it is challenging for everybody, but at the same time, it’s what you sign up for when you sign up for Chelsea.”

Tuchel provided an update on the fitness of his squad and confirmed Mateo Kovacic – who limped off during the FA Cup win over Crystal Palace on Sunday – Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi remain out.

“Kova [Mateo Kovacic] is out of the game, ligament injury. Hopefully not longer than two weeks. Callum [Hudson-Odoi] out of the game. Ben Chilwell out for the game. And some players in doubt who we need to examine.

“Ben will be able to join in team training with the youth, this will be his next step in the weeks and hopefully, he can join our training at the end of the season. With Callum, it’s day by day but not possible to join team training.”

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