Sunday, January 16, 2022

´We accept the challenge´ – Tuchel understands decision for Premier League season to continue

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Dec 2021

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Thomas Tuchel accepts the decision for the Premier League season to continue over the festive period and says Chelsea are up for the challenge of competing on multiple fronts.

The Blues had a late request to call off Sunday’s league clash with Wolves rejected amid a spate of absentees due to coronavirus and injuries.

Chelsea had just four outfield players on the bench at Molineux for the goalless draw as they dropped points for the third time in four top-flight outings.

That was just one of four Premier League games to go ahead at the weekend, with six others postponed as clubs continue to be hit by COVID-19 cases within their squads.

Tuchel accused league officials of putting the welfare of players at risk by making the game go ahead during the busiest period of the season for teams.

But despite concerns also being raised by other high-profile figures, a decision was reached on Monday for the schedule to continue as planned over Christmas and into the new year.

Prior to taking on Aston Villa, Brighton and Hove Albion and Liverpool in the next 12 days, Chelsea first have an EFL Cup quarter-final with Brentford to prepare for on Wednesday.

And despite still being without a number of first-team players, Tuchel understands the difficult position clubs and organisers are in to ensure games go ahead.

“I understand it is not easy to postpone games but for isolated situations like ours [against Wolves], we thought we had a strong case,” he said at Tuesday’s pre-match news conference. 

“I shared my thoughts with everybody, and we accept the situation. We accepted the challenge, and we will accept the next challenge.

“I don’t know if stopping the season would help and I don’t want to give the impression I have the solution. It was my thought particularly for the last two days around the Wolves game and coming into it. That was my concern.”

Tuchel added: “I would not say I’m disappointed at the decision. I think it would have been too easy. I don’t have a solution for the schedule. I don’t know, it might have just delayed the problem. 

“There are clubs who suffer a lot. We suffer very much at the moment so maybe it would be better to have a short break, but I do not have a solution or a clear opinion of what we can do for everybody.”

Tuchel confirmed that N’Golo Kante will not be part of the matchday squad to face Brentford, while Trevoh Chalobah and Andreas Christensen are fitness doubts.

Those to have tested positive for coronavirus last week will also remain out, with the exception of midfielder Jorginho, whose test was a false positive.

A number of Under-23s players have trained with the depleted first team ahead of the trip to Brentford in what will be the first EFL Cup tie between the London clubs.

Asked if it is frustrating Chelsea cannot field their strongest line-up on Wednesday, Tuchel said: “Yes, because we are so competitive. That’s why we work here, that’s what made them Chelsea players. 

“I absolutely don’t like judging the importance of games because you can never tell what that can do to you. There is nothing more important than winning and fighting the fights together.

“It is nothing new to play three matches in a week but without nine or 10 players, it is challenging. So, we struggle a little bit, but we find solutions.”

Chelsea have progressed from their past three EFL Cup quarter-final ties, doing so in 2014-15, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The Blues have also won six of their past seven meetings with Brentford in all competitions, including a 1-0 league victory at the Brentford Community Stadium this season.

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