Thomas Tuchel believes greater clarity and consistency is needed when Premier League games are postponed following a raft of recent match changes due to various player absences.
Covid-19 cases have risen sharply in English football throughout the winter, forcing players who have tested positive into isolation and meaning squads have been depleted.
The Blues were without seven players for our trip to Wolves before Christmas after an outbreak of positive cases, though Premier League guidance indicated that Tuchel had the required number of players available to fulfil the fixture.
However, recent postponements have factored in absences due to injuries and players being away at the African Cup of Nations, leaving Tuchel and many of his fellow managers confused and calling for more transparency.
‘I feel strongly that we need clarity and consistency in the decision-making and maybe we lack this a little bit,’ said the Chelsea boss at his pre-match press conference today.
‘I don’t need to know all the details but maybe the fans need to know. I believe in the rules still because if I start doubting or not believing, where does this end? I get the information and I accept it. I don’t lose my energy with decisions that I have zero influence in.
‘I don’t have a solution. I get asked consistently and other managers get asked but this is simply not a question for coaches. If you get asked these questions all the time, there’s obviously not enough clarity so I’m voting for clarity and consistency in the decision-making.’
The boss also provided the latest update on his squad’s fitness ahead of afternoon training at Cobham, indicating there were no new absences for Tuesday night’s trip to Brighton.
‘We train later but we have no re-injuries and no new injuries,’ he stated.
‘This is actually the good news but I think nobody is coming back for tomorrow’s game.’
The scheduling of this rearranged game on the South Coast has also frustrated Tuchel, who reiterated the views put forward by Petr Cech recently that a more suitable date for the fixture could have been found, particularly with both teams not in action again until Sunday.
‘It’s very hard to understand,’ he added. ‘Petr Cech gave the club’s opinion on that and I strongly agree with Petr. It has nothing to do with City or three away games in a row. Both us and Brighton have our next game on Sunday so there was no need to put it on a Tuesday.
‘We have the schedule that we have. We played in some competitions, some will hopefully stay with us and there are some extra games to come. We have this Brighton game now because we are in Abu Dhabi playing the Club World Cup so it’s squeezed into this week and last week we had not a whole week to prepare for Manchester City because we had a Carabao Cup semi-final.
‘If you look at it isolated, you can play on Saturday and Tuesday. We have done that before but if you widen the focus a little bit, we could have done better in scheduling this match for sure.’