Saturday, January 29, 2022

´What should we do?´ – Tuchel unsure whether players were protected after refused COVID-19 postponem

SoccerNews in English Premier League 19 Dec 2021

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Thomas Tuchel was still seething with the Premier League’s refusal to postpone Chelsea’s visit to Wolves as he questioned whether the players were protected by the game going ahead.

Chelsea dropped points for the third time in four league games as they were held to a goalless draw by Bruno Lage’s team on Sunday.

The Blues, despite topping the Premier League in the early stages, now sit six points behind leaders Manchester City, who cruised to a 4-0 victory at St. James’ Park over Newcastle United.

However, Tuchel was left exasperated by the decision for the clash at Molineux even going ahead, after the Premier League refused Chelsea’s request for the postponement of the fixture amid a spate of absentees due to coronavirus and injuries.

The former Paris Saint-Germain head coach again expressed his disappointment with the league’s decision as he outlined concerns for the safety and health of his players after the game.

“I gave my opinion, the club gave its opinion, we talk a lot about the safety and protecting the players, I’m not so sure we did this today – on we go,” Tuchel told Sky Sports.

“If we have tomorrow and the next test and the next positive, I would like to speak to the Premier League about what they expect. 

“If they make us play against Brentford shall we not arrive or not train? What should we do?

“Everyone is allowed to have an opinion. We had an opinion and the Premier League had an opinion. We agree to disagree.”

Only four of the scheduled 10 English top-flight games for the weekend went ahead, with fixtures cancelled due to COVID-19 outbreaks across various clubs, and Tuchel went into further detail about the Blues’ situation.

“I don’t know if it was close to not happening,” Tuchel told BBC Sport. “We were struggling with the preparation because we had several consecutive days with positive COVID tests and then we travelled together for three hours with the team, we had dinner together we had another positive test with Jorginho.

“People are worried because they were on the same bus and had the same dinner. Obviously, it was not enough to postpone the match and we had to play, but you cannot demand 100 per cent focus otherwise it would be stupid to normally focus if you can do this without being calm. It was everything else but calm.

“Today in the morning at 08:30 they knock on the door and have another test nobody knew about, so do we wake players up who want to sleep a bit longer? Okay.

“I gave my opinion and you can do with it what you want. I can’t compare to other games, it is just our situation. It is not safe.

“We talk about protecting players and a safe environment, but it is not safe. I would be not surprised if the next test shows up and we have more positives. How should it stop if we sit in the bus and have dinners and just stay together like nothing happened?

“I don’t care so much about the next games, I just care about the next tests and the health of the players.

“Today we let [Mateo] Kovacic play 30 minutes one day after 10 days of COVID. We make him play, who takes responsibility for that? We have [N’Golo] Kante one training session, [Trevoh] Chalobah with two training sessions and maybe another injury. It is like this. We need to keep on going if they say we need to keep going.”

Chelsea are due to be next in action on Wednesday in the EFL Cup quarter-final against Brentford, who saw their league visit to Southampton postponed.

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SoccerNews

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