Thomas Tuchel is concerned over the ankle injury that is continuing to bother Tammy Abraham, while the Chelsea boss has once again spoken about Christian Pulisic’s role at the club.
Abraham had to be replaced after 20 minutes against Newcastle United on February 15, having been hurt following a challenge in the 2-0 home win.
The striker started in the next league game – he was substituted at half-time in the 1-1 draw at Southampton – but has not featured since.
Tuchel confirmed on Friday that the England international is still troubled by the issue, forcing him to cut short his involvement in Thursday’s training session ahead of the trip to Leeds United.
“I’m a bit concerned because the pain from the tackle against Newcastle is still there,” Tuchel said ahead of Saturday’s game at Elland Road.
“It’s been a long time since he’s been 100 per cent pain-free and comfortable in training. Even if he finishes in training, I can see he isn’t 100 per cent free. I have complete trust in our medical department and they will take care of him.
“Tammy had to leave the pitch during the warm-up yesterday and he will get all the time he needs.
“It’s important he feels zero pain and then we can think about his comeback.”
The clashes may not have been the most frequent, but Chelsea v Leeds has always been a memorable fixture pic.twitter.com/HvoLLCp7v4
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 12, 2021
Tuchel is unbeaten in his nine Premier League games in charge – only Maurizio Sarri (12) and Frank Clark (11) have had longer runs without defeat from the start of their careers in the competition – and the upturn in the team’s fortunes has them on course for a top-four finish.
However, as well as Abraham, the German coach is set to be without Thiago Silva this weekend, the centre-back having suffered a problem in his recovery from a thigh injury.
“Thiago had a little setback in training at the end of the session, the day before yesterday, he felt something around the same area he was injured,” Tuchel revealed.
Pulisic is available but has yet to start a league game since Tuchel’s appointment, though his former boss at Borussia Dortmund wants the winger to be ready when called upon, whether that be as part of the initial XI or from the bench, having made seven appearances as a substitute.
Asked if Pulisic is prepared to be patient, Tuchel replied: “I hope so. When you sign and play for Chelsea, it is part of the job description, as a player, to be impatient and patient at the same time.
“Impatient because all of my players are competitors; all want to play every single minute. This is what they all show every day, this hunger and desire. This is what Christian shows.
“At the same time, when you’re not selected by the coach – by me – you have to be patient, to not lose confidence and keep on going. Be ready at any time, because it can happen at any time.
“At the beginning he was a bit unlucky. We knew how much of an impact he can have from the bench, and we used this power and strength from him.
“When it was around the time for him to start – against Sheffield United and Barnsley – for one game he was unavailable, the other came a bit too soon.
“If you turn it around, it’s also the duty of the players to show up and really earn that they play. This is what Christian does, so it can happen at any minute, for any game.”
Chelsea have won five of their six away games in all competitions under Tuchel, having lost four of their previous five towards the end of Frank Lampard’s reign.
They head to Yorkshire looking to complete a league double over Leeds for the first time since the 1988-89 season, a time when both clubs were in the second tier of English football.
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