Tuchel addresses what he has found ‘brutal’ since joining Chelsea
Thomas Tuchel has admitted he has found Chelsea’s schedule “brutal” but is not thinking too far ahead.
Chelsea host Fulham on Saturday evening, a game sandwiched between both legs of their Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid. They drew the first leg 1-1, so will need to prepare well for the return fixture. However, first Fulham will be standing in their way in a Premier League tie.
Fulham are fighting for an unlikely escape from the relegation zone, so will be ready to challenge Chelsea. Although Wednesday’s clash with Madrid has an obvious allure, Tuchel is focusing on one task at a time.
He told a pre-match press conference: “Fulham is a good chance to keep our advantage in the league, nothing else.
“I know very well it is a match between two semi-finals, it is not a usual week but I am happy. It is the moment to prove to ourselves that we can focus our energy into tomorrow’s game.”
However, Tuchel did admit that it will be tough to find the right balance between the two games.
He said: “Absolutely. There is no doubt about it. We are in the middle of the race, it is not easy to switch from one competition to another but who cares?
“It is my job to find the mix, to put the players in the right mindset and to prepare for this match in a way they all understand the importance.”
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Addressing the hectic schedule he has faced since moving to Chelsea in January, Tuchel said: “It’s brutal.
“We played in France the same amount of games and we got the impression but of course the challenge and intensity of this league is different. It is another level, quite relentless.
“But it keeps you on your front foot and getting out of bed early. There is simply no time to breathe, to sit back and get too relaxed or comfortable. This is a good thing.”
Tuchel hints at Gilmour selection
Chelsea have not had too many injuries recently, with Mateo Kovacic’s absence affecting them over the past few games.
The midfielder will not be able to return against Fulham, and Tuchel confirmed that Antonio Rudiger will also not make it.
Tuchel said: “No, unfortunately not. He trained but still not fully comfortable.
“Antonio Rudiger is also out. He picked up an injury in the last minute against Madrid.”
Amid Kovacic’s absence, there could be an opportunity for Billy Gilmour, who has not seen much action since Tuchel took charge.
N’Golo Kante and Jorginho remain his preferred options in midfield, but Gilmour will be in the squad.
Tuchel said of Gilmour’s chances: “Could be tomorrow but it is not decided. N’Golo feels good, Jorginho looks good.
“We miss Kova a lot, I have even the feeling that Jorginho and N’Golo can even step up in doing everything to recover as fast as possible.
“They both looked good in training. The decision will be made later today or tomorrow morning. Billy will be in the squad tomorrow.”
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