Thomas Tuchel might not have selected Mason Mount in his first starting line-up but the new boss can already see the enormous ability and passion the midfielder possesses.
Tuchel was at pains to point out his selection against Wolves might well be the most unfair of his Chelsea reign considering he had only had a single training session to work with his new players.
Omitting Mount, a starter in all but two league fixtures up to that point and arguably our most in-form player, was always likely to raise eyebrows, but Tuchel was insistent he simply chose experience during a difficult time. He is now excited to help the 22-year-old continue to flourish.
‘I like what I have seen from Mason so far, his personality is amazing, he is such a nice guy, such a competitive guy, with such a lot of talent,’ the German said at his press conference today.
‘Most importantly, every game I have watched so far he has left his heart on the pitch, he cares for Chelsea 100 per cent, he gives 100 per cent every time he plays, and this is the best basis for big development.
‘I’m very happy to have him around and I will not stop pushing him, I will not stop guiding him and I will not stop trusting him. There is nothing to worry about.’
One player not in the matchday squad last night was Billy Gilmour, another young midfielder who has been much less involved than Mount this season.
While Tuchel acknowledges the Scot is at a ‘different personal moment’ to Mount, he doesn’t expect to see him leave on loan as has been reported in some media outlets.
‘For Billy I have a good impression. He is a very strategic guy, with a very high level of game understanding, very good in the first contact, very clever in positioning.
‘We will see if he has the physical level to compete in the centre of the field in the most physical league in the world, but he is super quick with his feet, super fast with his decision making, and very good in positioning like I said.
‘For me we have 21, 22 outfield players available to play in three competitions. There is absolutely no need to get rid of players.’
This is the first time in Tuchel’s managerial career he has taken over midway through a season, and it is, as we all know, not just any season but one taking place during a global pandemic.
He sees one of his biggest challenges as fostering a sense of team unity while the rules dictate people cannot be in close proximity.
‘For me it’s crucial to create a special atmosphere and a bond on a daily basis here at Cobham in the dressing room, but due to the Covid situation we have social distancing rules so at the moment we are using three changing rooms for our team. We can’t all be in the gym at the same time together. We cannot do the biggest celebrations in training when we do a six against six.
‘We miss all these little details you maybe don’t talk about normally. They can make a difference in creating a certain bond and a certain glue between the players, and create an atmosphere you really feel when you step into a dressing room where players are talking with each other, bonding with each other, arguing with each other. That simply doesn’t exist, and at the same time the biggest impact is the empty stadiums.
‘It also affects everybody on a personal level. Some players are more scared than others, some are more worried about parents and grandparents. This is a huge thing to deal with, but there is no time to overthink it.’