Thursday, January 20, 2022

Tuchel won´t call for Premier League circuit-breaker

SoccerNews in English Premier League 17 Dec 2021

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Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel is reticent to call for the Premier League to pause over Christmas due to rising coronavirus cases because he feels it will only create further problems.

Five matches initially scheduled to take place this weekend have already been postponed, while three of the midweek games were called off as well.

COVID-19 outbreaks have hit a host of Premier League clubs, with Chelsea also registering four positive cases prior to Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Everton.

The situation has led to some, including Brentford boss Thomas Frank, to suggest the Premier League should postpone all games at least until Boxing Day.

Similarly, Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe said earlier on Friday that the number of postponements has left the Premier League’s integrity on a “knife-edge”.

Tuchel accepts there is no right answer, adamant that even postponing one game creates a knock-on effect that impacts other matches due to quarantine rules.

“[Howe] has a point, yes, but everyone else who says we should continue also has a point, there’s no one answer to all these questions being asked of society and football right now,” Tuchel told reporters.

“That’s why I don’t think I should go out with one proper opinion and make myself think I’m right on this.

“The situation is very complex, and health and safety is always first. We are still very privileged that we can work and have had exceptions to the rules.

“We are privileged to test all the time but I understand the point.

“You can end up in a situation you find unfair or doubting the integrity but there’s the bigger picture to focus on. I still see both points.

“If you cancel one game, you cancel three [because of quarantine] and then maybe you have another problem, so I can understand the decision to protect as many games as possible. I will not go down this road of excuses or blaming, because it doesn’t help the situation.”

Presuming matches do continue as planned over the festive period, it represents something of a new phenomenon for Tuchel, who would not usually expect to be working given the winter breaks adopted in Germany and France.

But looking beyond the fatigue and coronavirus situation, Tuchel insists he is a big fan of being immersed in the chaos of the festive schedule – it is the growing international calendar he has an issue with.

“For me it’s the first time, normally I was on a short break or holiday – then I’d turn the TV on and was happy to see [English] football,” he continued.

“It’s very unique and I love to be in the middle of it, to be honest. It’s tiring, makes you fatigued, it’s not always the most pleasant but at same time it is because it’s where you want to be.

“We are in a situation where we play too many competitions. Just yesterday, there was a draw for the Nations League. This is where I strongly disagree.

“My concern is that we increase the amount of football but not the level of the game. This is what we have here [at Christmas in England], high-level games when others have a break.

“Honestly, I love it and it’s unique. Taking this away, I’m not sure it solves the issue. There are too many competitions out there to secure the quality of the sport.”

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