Thomas Tuchel has provided an insight into why Andreas Christensen missed the FA Cup final defeat to Liverpool on Saturday.
The central defender was expected to start in a back three alongside Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger. But he was left out of the squad entirely, with Trevoh Chalobah coming in to replace him in the starting eleven.
According to a bombshell report from the Evening Standard, Christensen asked to be left out of the Chelsea team – despite being fully fit.
And Tuchel has now confirmed that was the case. Due to the Dane’s decision, Tuchel says he has ‘no chance’ of predicting his starting lineup for the Chelsea match against Leicester on Thursday.
“I’m not sure yet if he’s involved tomorrow and on the weekend,” Tuchel told a pre-match press conference.
“Andreas came in the morning of the match to speak to me and tell me that he’s not ready to play the match, not to start or be on the bench.
“He had his reasons, they stay private and confidential. But it was not the first time as you can see over the last weeks that we had some of the same situations.
“That’s why he did not play so regularly in the last times. We thought we were in a good progression and development, but the conversation took place, we had to respect it and we of course respected it.
Thomas Tuchel admits decision was ‘short notice’
“It was very short notice now before the cup final. And not only this match, other matches in the other weeks. There’s no chance I have any prediction for tomorrow or the weekend.”
Tuchel continued: “We had to accept it and we will accept it.
“I try the best I can not to take things personally, and I still believe Andreas wanted to play these matches. I still believe he could in terms of potential and ability.
“And he struggled over the last weeks, as you can see, when he was not in the squad or not playing although he was physically available.
“It was not completely out of the blue sky. We thought we had prepared him the best way possible with a very impressive game at Leeds. He is a key player.”
One potential reason for Christensen pulling out of matches could be his impending transfer to Barcelona.
The 26-year-old has agreed terms ahead of a summer move to the Nou Camp once his Chelsea contract expires.
But it is still surprising that Christensen didn’t want to feature in the FA Cup final. It would have given him the opportunity to pick up his last piece of silverware in the famous blue jersey.
Meanwhile, Chelsea will have to overcome Barca if they want to land one of Christensen’s potential centre-half replacements.