Ahead of our Carabao Cup tie against Southampton, Thomas Tuchel has revealed he is planning to rotate his team, but explains why doing so is a delicate balancing act.
We host the Saints at Stamford Bridge in the fourth round this evening and go into the game with a 100 per cent record for October, following a run of four consecutive wins. That started with victory over the same opponents at the Bridge in the Premier League and has seen us score 15 goals in our last four games while conceding just once.
However, with our next match being the team’s third in the space of seven days, Tuchel admits he will be looking to make changes to his line-up, despite the 7-0 thrashing of Norwich City in our last match on Saturday.
He is wary of changing too much, though, as he looks to find the balance between giving some players a rest and others an opportunity to impress, while maintaining our momentum.
‘There will be some changes, how much I don’t know yet,’ said our head coach. ‘Sometimes you can never be fully sure, do you interrupt a good flow, is it better to keep everybody in there and playing to keep the momentum going or is it the moment to give some players a rest?
‘But we have an excellent department at Cobham that helps us take these decisions – the guys who do the analysing, the guys who do the monitoring, the guys who treat the players, the medical department and everybody.
‘We will put our heads together and get some decisions because we have to admit, we had a late game on Wednesday and an early game on Saturday and another one on Tuesday. So it’s very likely that we have some changes.’
Another consideration Tuchel is taking into account is the balance of the team and making sure the players who come into the line-up are used correctly and given a fair chance to perform.
‘It is a moment in the Carabao Cup to give some players some minutes. Still, it needs to make sense, it needs to be fair also to the player. Do we have his position available, do we have a position where he can show his potential, so he gets better and better?’
However, the most important thing for the German is that our level of performance remains at the same high level, regardless of the personnel on the pitch or the competition, and that is something he has confidence in with this squad.
‘At the moment I’m happy that everyone who comes on and plays, plays with the same style and intensity. I’m in the spirit right now of what I like about the team, that when we play, we play and we push ourselves to the limit on this very special matchday, and this will be next on Tuesday against Southampton.’
One player who could return to the side against the Saints is Andreas Christensen, who scored his first Chelsea goal in the 4-0 Champions League win over Malmo last week, but was not involved against Norwich at the weekend.
Tuchel explained how the Danish international is an example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and why he sees the potential for even bigger things from the 25-year-old at Chelsea in the future.
‘I think it’s important that we accept the personality of every player,’ said Tuchel. ‘Some are more aggressive, some are more loud, some are more calm and he is a very calm guy, a very intelligent player.
‘Sometimes you can get maybe a bit misled by judging him from his personality because he’s a hard defender and he’s the guy who is not shy to have hard tackles and to win challenges and to step up in games.
‘He found his place, he’s very strong, he’s very reliable and he has not reached his limits because at this age there is still room to improve. So he can be an absolutely top defender for us in the next years and hopefully he will be because he comes from the Academy, he knows what it takes, and he has improved massively so far.
‘But it’s not done yet. You have to show it over and over again. There are big examples at this club of what it takes to be a legend in defence and there is still a way to go but we are very happy so far.’
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