Ahead of our match against Norwich City, Thomas Tuchel explains why he would have loved to have played for Daniel Farke, discusses what Billy Gilmour needs to do to make his loan with the Canaries a success and outlines what he wants to see from his forward players in the absence of Romelu Lukaku.
Chelsea triumphed 4-0 last time out at the Bridge, when we beat Malmo in the Champions League on Wednesday evening, but that victory came at a cost as Lukaku and Timo Werner were both forced off with injuries that mean we will be without them this weekend.
However, Tuchel doesn’t feel their absence will require huge changes to the striker’s role in our team or the use of a false number nine against Norwich, providing Kai Havertz’s ability in the box as an example of how the rest of our squad can make up for the two forwards’ absence.
‘Without Romelu we thought we could play with Timo as a number nine or with Kai as a number nine,’ said our head coach. ‘For me it’s not so much of a false nine because Kai is also very strong in the last line, behind the last line and arriving in the box.
‘For me it’s a big strength of his and when he plays the number nine we want this from him and he did it against Malmo. So this is more what we expect from him tomorrow.
‘Once we don’t have Romelu, the game will be a bit different, but in the end we want the same power, the same amount of people in the same spaces in the opponents’ box when we finish our attacks. That does not change.’
Whoever takes on the role leading our attacking line against Norwich, the man in the opposition dug-out trying to counter that threat will be someone Tuchel knows well.
Canaries boss Daniel Farke was in charge of Borussia Dortmund’s reserve team during the two seasons that Tuchel led the Germans’ senior side, between 2015 and 2017, and made a good impression on our head coach, both then and more recently with his work at Norwich.
‘I like him a lot. First of all as a person, because he’s a very nice and very humble person. He was coach of the second team when we were at Dortmund and from there I met him and he was very nice to talk about things and swap training sessions with each other and have a close exchange because we talk about players and use sometimes players in national breaks from him.
‘He’s a very good manager also in terms of people management. I would have liked to be a player under him, honestly, because I can imagine that he gives you a lot of confidence and a lot of trust.
‘I’m super happy that he made it on the highest level. He made it now twice to the Premier League with the same club, which shows you that they trust him and they’re not only judged by pure results, which is a very good thing, and it speaks for itself.
‘I hope that we can have the better end tomorrow. We will do everything to win against him, but he’s doing a fantastic job and hopefully he knows it.’
Tuchel also took time to discuss Gilmour’s situation, as the young midfielder is currently on loan with Norwich.
The Scottish international enjoyed a strong start to the season at Carrow Road but has found playing time more difficult to come by as Farke has made changes to his team as he looks for the winning formula.
Although Gilmour is ineligible to feature against Chelsea tomorrow anyway, Tuchel spoke about what he feels the midfielder needs to do in order to nail down a place in Norwich’s starting line-up and return to the Blues with a successful loan spell under his belt at the end of the season.
‘I love Billy and I always loved him,’ said Tuchel. ‘He was a big factor, maybe not in the spotlight, last season when we came in for the last half. He decided to go, to have a bigger chance to catch some minutes, and we thought it was important.
‘First of all I want him to perform. It’s more or less the same question about how you make it into our teams – by pure performance. If you decide to go on loan it’s as simple as that and I don’t mean it harsh. You need to perform, you need to be on the pitch, you need to be the top player no matter where you go if you want to make it back here and you want to improve yourself.
‘He’s our player, we love Billy, we’re very aware of what he can do, but changing a club is always a risk and is always a huge step and it can also be positive. He needs to overcome adversity and now is not the time to speak about coming back, it’s time to fight for his place and show what he can do.
‘We trust him that he can play a role. Of course no-one is obliged to let our players play, but no coach in the world will leave the best players out. So that’s what he needs to prove, that Norwich is a better team with him. I trust that he can do it and hopefully he does not lose this trust in himself and can turn things around again.’