Players have returned from injury into the squad for today’s visit to St James’ Park but with others still out and a new name added to the treatment list, Thomas Tuchel has been discussing the strength of his squad, and he believe he has the players he needs.
Chelsea take on Newcastle today hoping for a win that will keep us at the top of the Premier League pile as the games played reaches double figures. There will be no Romelu Lukaku or Timo Werner involved and Tuchel reported yesterday the game comes a little too early for Christian Pulisic, who is training again, however Cesar Azpilicueta, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and N’Golo Kante are over small problems.
It is a new hamstring injury for Mateo Kovacic, revealed yesterday, that has the boss considering the depth of the squad at his disposal.
‘I miss Mateo a lot, he has been a key factor till now and it's really sad to see him get injured in the very last second of the training on Thursday,’ Tuchel begins, ‘but actually in midfield, and hopefully it stays like this, we have still Jorginho, N’Golo, Ruben who comes back after only two or three days out, and we have Saul, so there's still a lot of quality we can use to compensate.
‘You cannot predict that you will lose three key offensive players at the same time, this is quite unlucky, and you cannot have a squad with five, six or seven key players and three of them constantly waiting for another three to get injured. This does not exist in real life.
‘I'm happy with the guys who will be on the pitch today, they earned our trust. We arrived at this group of 18 plus goalkeepers and we are capable of pushing the limits so high that we can win consecutive games. There is no doubt about it.
‘There's a bit of a stretch at the moment, the group is tested, and we want to prove we are a strong group and can compensate for situations like this.’
Tuchel says there is a good chance Ruben Loftus-Cheek will play today. The 25-year-old missed out due to a hip problem midweek but impressed again when he came on against Norwich a week ago on the back of strong starts against Brentford and Southampton in the league.
It is an added bonus that Loftus-Cheek plus Ross Barkley and Malang Sarr, who were not necessarily part of the main plans for the season right at the start, have proved themselves solid squad members.
‘I'm super happy with Ruben,’ says Tuchel. ‘Obviously he deserves to play and he did some pretty strong minutes and matches for us.
‘I love that he took the chance and what he brought to the team. It's a huge challenge to play regularly in central midfield for our club because there are guys like N’Golo, Jorgi and Mateo who proved it over a longer time in this club. This cannot be turned completely upside down after two or three good matches but he's on his way.
‘Malang Sarr, Ross Barkley and he brought something to the group when they had no pressure. They were happy to be here to do this first step to be a fixed member of the squad so they were full of positivity, full of good energy and it is a big credit to them how they did it.
‘There will come a time where things feel more normal to be in this group and you're not only happy if you just get 20 minutes. Then they have to prove that they can keep the same spirit and same level.
‘Ruben did a huge step up from the start of the season until now and the route is not finished. He has to proceed.’