Interview

Tuchel updates on Kante and Lukaku’s chances of facing Arsenal and hints at new formation

Thomas Tuchel is hopeful that he will have both N’Golo Kante and Romelu Lukaku available for selection for our next match against Arsenal and revealed that Lukaku’s arrival could prompt a change in system for Chelsea.

Our German head coach started by providing an update on Kante, who missed our opening Premier League game, a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, due to injury.

However, Tuchel confirmed that the Frenchman’s absence was mainly precautionary, meaning he could well be back in time for Sunday’s trip to the Emirates Stadium.

‘N’Golo felt discomfort in his ankle on Friday,’ said Tuchel. ‘He felt it in the warm-up to the Super Cup match against Villarreal and he already played a little bit in pain and overcame the pain in that game.

‘But on Friday he felt it again and we decided to take him out and not to take any risk now at the beginning of the season. I think N’Golo will be back in the middle of the week to hopefully be ready for Arsenal.’

Tuchel is confident that Lukaku will be able to make his second Blues debut in that same match, after the Belgian striker re-signed for the club too late to be involved against Palace, due to current Covid-19 protocols.

‘We expect Romelu to finish quarantine in time to be able to join team training on Tuesday, because Monday is our day off. So we will try to prepare him to play against Arsenal and hopefully he can be on the pitch.’

Tuchel also discussed the changing roles of Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner, with that trio alternating between different positions during pre-season and our first two competitive fixtures of 2021/22, and how he feels Lukaku’s arrival could benefit them.

That included the German dropping a big hint there could be a new role for them to fill in the side, with the addition of our new striker opening up more tactical options for the Blues.

‘Every player wants to have a regular position he can fight for, I know this very well, but at the same time it can be also a huge advantage to be able to play in more than one position, because then you can be the alternative for more minutes. So there’s an up-side and a down-side.

‘I’m very happy with Timo, Christian and Kai because they have put a lot of effort and intensity into the team.

‘With the addition of Romelu. We get the number-one striker and we want to have him on the pitch. This is very clear. If you do this kind of transfer, we are absolutely sure we want to have him on the pitch, but I think he will lift the pressure off the shoulders of the young guys, from Kai, Timo and Christian, because Romelu is the kind of personality who loves responsibility.

‘I think we have now with Romelu the chance also to play with two strikers, like they did at Inter with him, or to continue with three strikers. We will see now how this works out and we will find a solution for the players around him.'

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