Thomas Tuchel admitted Chelsea could cut short a loan deal agreed in the summer that has not produced the results many expected.
A vast array of Chelsea stars were loaned out over the summer, three of which were to fellow Premier League sides. Armando Broja joined Southampton, while midfield duo Conor Gallagher and Billy Gilmour joined Crystal Palace and Norwich respectively.
Gallagher has set the world alight under Patrick Vieira, and produced a man of the match display as the Eagles inflicted a costly defeat on Chelsea’s title rivals Manchester City on Saturday.
In contrast, Gilmour’s spell with the Canaries has failed to ignite. Despite being a regular for Scotland, the 20-year-old hasn’t featured for Daniel Farke’s side in the league since September 18.
Gilmour has been an unused substitute five times this season, and the lack of regular gametime is doing little for his development.
Now, speaking in his Monday press conference (via Football London), Tuchel revealed Chelsea are considering cutting Gilmour’s loan stint short. However, the Blues are willing to see if Gilmour’s situation improves first.
“We will take the decision in January (if he is recalled), not now,” said Tuchel.
“I met Billy around the Norwich match and things were clear when we decided together. He needed more minutes in another club, the challenge was clear that he needed to fight his way through.
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“Things are maybe not going as he wishes right now but it’s not the moment to cancel the whole project. Sometimes these weeks arrive that the situation is stuck but you have to hang in there and show your quality.
“That sharpens your character and it will be a big chapter in your career. It will be the same for Billy. It’s the moment right now to have solutions for January and have talks to bring him back.”
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Attention then turned to injury updates. Tuchel stated that he will continue to be without four players, though Christian Pulisic has returned to the squad.
“These four players are out unfortunately,” said Tuchel. “But for Timo [Werner], Romelu [Lukaku] and Kova [Mateo Kovacic] no surprise. Mason doesn’t feel better, it’s not Covid. He’s just ill. Christian Pulisic is back and back in the squad for tomorrow.”
In the absence of their recognised strikers, Chelsea have been given a timely boost from their wing-backs. Both Ben Chilwell and Reece James have found the net with regularity of late, and Tuchel was asked whether it is by design.
Tuchel concluded: “What any coach does is that you don’t rely on one or two goalscorers. But you also wish to rely on one or two goalscorers because it gives you a lift.
“You need consistent goalscoring threat from your strikers because they do what they do. The statistic would look different if you count the wing-backs as midfielders. I would not call them defenders. They have to defend but are more free to attack.
“It’s important they are included and that we bring them to the other box to increase the goal threat.”