Premier League • England

‘The race is on’ as Tuchel puts positive spin on Chelsea injury woe

Neil Foster
Thomas Tuchel Romelu Lukaku Chelsea 2021 TEAMtalk1

Thomas Tuchel has urged his fringe players to step up to the plate as injuries to Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner in the victory over Malmo look set to rob Chelsea of the strike duo.

Lukaku limped off in the 23rd minute before Werner was forced from the pitch one minute before half-time. The injuries did not hamper the Blues during the match as they strolled to a 4-0 triumph. Andreas Christensen opened the scoring in just the ninth minute – his first goal for the west Londoners.

Jorginho then slotted home from the penalty spot on 19 minutes after Lasse Nielsen brought down Lukaku. The Belgium striker tried to carry on after the challenge but hobbled off the pitch soon afterwards.

The hosts were comfortable at half-time but put the game to bed three minutes after the interval. Substitute Kai Havertz slotted home past Malmo’s substitute keeper Ismael Diawara.

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And Jorginho rounded off the scoring on 57 minutes with another penalty after Antonio Rudiger had been bundled over in the box. Having been beaten 1-0 by Juventus in their last Champions League encounter, Tuchel eyed a response.

And the German tactician was pleased with both the result and display by his charges.

“We wanted three points and wanted them deserved and we got both of those,” he told BT Sport. “We played to huge intensity, we demanded this from us and we played an excellent game until it was 4-0. We are very happy.”

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Tuchel expects duo to miss weekend

The Stamford Bridge romp sees Chelsea second in Group H on six points. Juve are top and have maximum points after beating Zenit Saint Petersburg 1-0.

Attention now turns back to domestic matters, with Chelsea facing Norwich on Saturday. And Tuchel does not expect his crocked stars to make it.

“We have a twist of the ankle for Romelu, and muscle injury and hamstring for Timo, so they will be some days out I guess,” he added. “Normally we are in a good place injury wise, only Christian Pulisic is out, but we miss everybody. We have a lot of games, lot of competitions, so now we have to deal and find solutions, no excuses.”

Lukaku has been superb since returning to the club. But the manager now wants others to prove their worth with the former Manchester United man sidelined.

“The two were in good shape, they are dangerous and can create and score so now we need to find solutions and guys who waited for their chance need to step up and score,” he continued.

Timo Werner Chelsea

“The race is on, the guys who start against Norwich have our trust and we will try to find new solutions. We have won games before with Werner and Lukaku, we don’t want these problems too often but it happens during a season.”

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