Tuchel updates on Ziyech and Christensen and outlines concerns at busy period

Thomas Tuchel is hoping to be able to call upon Hakim Ziyech and Andreas Christensen for today’s Premier League clash at Aston Villa.

The duo are injury doubts for the festive Boxing Day fixture which comes in the middle of a relentless run of games and, given the uncertainty around games being played due to rising cases of Covid-19 in the UK, Tuchel has admitted he is concerned for player welfare at this stage.

First though, the boss gave an update on Ziyech and Christensen ahead of the clash against Steven Gerrard’s Villa.

‘With Hakim, I’m not sure right now about his status,’ said our German head coach.

‘He got a kick that was very painful and I don’t know whether he will be fit for Aston Villa yet. We will need to see because there has not been a lot of time between games.

‘Andreas had an injection in the lower back area recently and is also in a lot of pain. It’s not good when we have issues like this over the past few days all at the same time when we want to be competitive but we will try and stay positive and look to arrive at Aston Villa with a full respect for the competition.’

Tuchel admitted he does have concerns – like so many other Premier League managers – at how depleted squads will cope with the relentless fixture list and the boss admits there is a bigger picture to consider in the current climate.

Being able to use more substitutes, for example, would help manage the load according to Tuchel and the German says he has pushed for the five-sub rule to be reintroduced.

‘Of course we are concerned because we are not only footballer players and coaches but we are also fathers and family members,’ explained Thomas. ‘So there are some doubts, fears and concerns at such an uncertain situation.

‘Still we know we are so privileged to be able to do our job and do what we love so much and I have been so impressed by the way the squad have taken things on.

‘The situation and my feelings were a bit different when we arrived in Wolverhampton with seven positive tests in three days and I feared we were close to an outbreak and we would need some time to deal with this.

‘We live with it and we will try to be as supportive as possible. At this moment I would love for us to be able to make five substitutions and this is something we are pushing. We were able to do five substitutions during the first lockdown and without this in the current situation, it makes life very difficult for the players.

‘This period is very demanding and very challenging so I think for the health of the players, we should be allowed five changes to help control the load.’

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