Thomas Tuchel claims Conor Gallagher can be ‘big asset’ for Chelsea after benefitting from loan; hints at chance for forgotten man

Thomas Tuchel in the Chelsea dugout

Thomas Tuchel has explained what Conor Gallagher must do next after getting his proof that his loan spell away from Chelsea last season was the right step.

Gallagher was among the starters in a 2-1 pre-season win for Chelsea against Club America overnight. Their goals were scored by Timo Werner and Mason Mount either side of a Reece James own goal.

It was a successful start to Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the USA. Tuchel got the chance to examine 22 players by fielding a different lineup for each half.

Among them were some familiar faces from last season, but also some who spent time away from Stamford Bridge. The starting XI was: Kepa; Chalobah, Silva, Sarr; Kenedy, Gallagher, Barkley, Chilwell; Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi, Havertz.

For the second half, Tuchel sent on: Bettinelli; James, Ampadu, Azpilicueta; Emerson, Jorginho, Mount, Alonso; Pulisic, Batshuayi, Werner.

The German tactician was glad to see Werner on the scoresheet, claiming he did what he had to do as a striker. And the same went for midfielder Gallagher, who was making his first appearance since returning from a spell with Crystal Palace.

Thomas Tuchel said: “Timo played 45 minutes like everybody else and Timo scored. That’s what counts and from there we go.

“There is always stuff to improve, but it’s the first match.

“Kai [Havertz] had a big chance, Michy [Batshuayi] had a big chance, Timo took the chance and Mason did also.

“I count on the fact that as they become more experienced, they maybe become more calm and adapt more and more. They’re still young players and what we want from them is that they stay confident, stay focused, and do what they need to do as strikers.

“With Conor, it is the same as a midfielder. He trains on a very high level and we can clearly see that it was the right decision to let him go on loan.

“He made a huge step in his development in this year and became a player for England, and we can see this clearly in training. It is a very good start from him and it was a good match from him.

“Now it is important that he gets used to our principles of the game, to understand when to move, when not to move. But his work-rate is outstanding and this can be a big asset for us.”

Gallagher has been the subject of interest from a few other clubs after his productive season with Palace. But it seems Tuchel could be planning for a future at Chelsea that includes him.

Ethan Ampadu impresses Thomas Tuchel

Another player who spent time away from Chelsea – in less familiar surroundings – last season was Ethan Ampadu.

Back after a spell in Serie A with Venezia, he slotted into the back three, which is an area Tuchel could have concerns about following the exits of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

He has already signed Kalidou Koulibaly to bolster their options. But Ampadu, still only 21, may have given him something else to ponder.

Tuchel said: “Ethan did very well in a good position for him in the middle of a back three.

“He plays a lot of vertical passes, he did not play from left to right but only penetrated through the lines of the opponent with his passes and sometimes with his dribbling.

“He was very active and it was good match from him – he also is training very well.”

Chelsea will next be in action against Charlotte FC in North Carolina on July 20th.

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