Tuchel: Possible for Saul to play and I’ll give support to Barkley

Stamford Bridge could witness a debut today Thomas Tuchel has confirmed, and if it happens, it will be a bow in addition to Romelu Lukaku’s possible ‘second home debut’ as a Chelsea player.

Our other outfield summer signing in addition to the Belgian centre-forward is Spanish midfielder Saul, and workload for players while away on international duty as he was settling in at Cobham may determine the degree to which he is involved against Aston Villa this afternoon.

‘Saul is with us now for two weeks, he has played on the highest levels and the picture is very clear,’ says Tuchel, who yesterday revealed he had been interested in signing the 26-year-old at previous clubs.

‘Chelsea has followed him for years, they have expertise in the scouting and reports for years about him. I know the player also very well.

‘He has a quick adaptation here because of Marcos Alonso and Kepa. It's very easy and smooth in welcoming him into the group so he is in the squad [for today’s game].

‘We have to see with Jorginho if it makes sense that we put him into another 90 minutes because he can never say no when Italy play,’ Tuchel smiles. ‘Even if they're 5-0 up he still wants every ball and runs so he's quite tired.

‘It is absolutely possible that Saul plays for us because the quality, expertise and experience are there.’

Barkley between the chairs

Less likely to make the pitch against the club where he was on loan last season is Ross Barkley. Tuchel says the midfielder accepts his performances at the West Midlands club last term were not sufficient that he can expect to be a main choice at Chelsea at the start of this season, and confirms Barkley tried to find another loan or club during the transfer window. Circumstances, especially knock-on effects of the pandemic, meant that did not happen, leaving questions about where he now fits in.

‘I think he's also asking himself the same questions,’ says Tuchel, ‘and maybe all of us here have to be very honest and say we don't have the answers to it. I'm pretty sure that he worries a lot about the situation, how could it come so far that right now he is like in between the chairs and doesn't really know where he belongs and what his role is.

‘I don't have these answers, because I don't follow him long enough and I don't know him long enough. All I can say is that for Ross and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, I'm super happy that we had an in-house game here and those two did fantastic and they trained very well, despite their personal situation which is sometimes absolutely not the nicest one as a competitor who has high dreams, high hopes and loves his sport.

‘All the advice I can give to Ross right now is to stay humble, get it off your shoulders, all the opinions, all the expectations from everybody about the past and what could have been. It does not help.

‘So at the moment he is a regular part of the training group and it's the most important that he accepts the situation. He does not have to love the situation but he needs to accept it in a positive way. It's not that easy because we have a lot of players for his positions.

‘He has the ability to train on the same level as the group but I saw so many players who can train on a certain level. There's so much more to it to become a regular Premier League top player.

‘So let's see. It's never too late and I will give him the support that I can. We need to wait and have a bit of patience.’

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