Thomas Tuchel was able to deliver a positive update on the injury front at his media conference ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, confirming everyone bar Ben Chilwell had taken part in training today.
That includes Reece James, who hasn’t played since late December, as well as Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech, who limped off in the second half of Tuesday’s win over Lille. They both trained fully today.
‘It’s brilliant news,’ said Tuchel.
‘Everybody joined team training from the first to the last minute. We have had at the moment no reactions, just positive reactions, and I hope it stays like this and we have everyone available for Sunday after our last training tomorrow.’
Tuchel was asked whether Reece James could feature at Wembley having not played since late December
‘It’s a very good question. Even if I wanted to, I’m not sure I could answer your question right now. He looked brilliant in the last two training sessions. Let’s wait another session, and see if I’m crazy enough to put him on the pitch, or if the reasonable side of me wins and we go step by step.
‘It would be a huge step, but honestly yesterday and today he looked so strong and confident and involved in training, you are tempted to do it. Let’s see. The most important thing for him and us is that he’s back and he feels so confident he can step up to this level.’
Tuchel also has a big choice to make about who starts in goal
‘First of all, I will not tell you!’ he laughed.
‘We will take the decision late. You have a reason to ask the question. The last competition was a short one. Kepa played a huge part in the Club World Cup semi-final to bring us to the final, then we took the decision for Edou coming back from the African Cup of Nations.
‘The very last decision we will take after training like always. There is no need to take the decision now when we have one more training. Kepa did fantastic in the period where we had to be without Edou, so it’s an uncomfortable and comfortable situation. He absolutely deserves [to play] but I cannot get sentimental about it. I have to do what is the best solution for the team.
‘This position is a very sensitive position. If Kepa was a player on the field we would not have these discussions, we would just be full of praise, and we are. It is not a position where you do a lot of changes.’
Having not played on Tuesday, Tuchel reported Romelu Lukaku had trained well this week
‘He has been good, like everybody else. He is an important player, there is a lot of focus on him, but if you allow yourself to zoom out a little bit you can see he played a lot of matches from the start for us.
‘We have maybe the same situation with Jorginho, one of our captains. He did not play so much from the beginning lately because we feel him a bit tired.
‘The focus is hugely on Romelu, but the situation is more or less the same for Jorginho. Sometimes it’s not fair, it’s a bit too much, because they are both team players, but once you play for Chelsea you accept the team goes first. That’s why there are no hard feelings. We can only achieve our goals together.’