Thomas Tuchel was pleased to confirm he will have Mason Mount available to him for tomorrow’s Premier League meeting with Southampton, although there is no chance Reece James will be involved.
The duo were both called up to the England squad yesterday and at his media conference this afternoon, Tuchel expressed his surprise James had been included as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury sustained against Manchester City on Saturday.
‘When I saw it, I thought maybe Reece was in the England water polo team!’ joked the boss.
‘Reece is training in the pool right now. I understood he was selected for the football team. This will not happen. My understanding is he will not go. It can only be a misunderstanding, nothing else.
‘Mason is in the squad, Mason is back. It was not a long injury, and we are happy he is back. It’s obviously a given he is nominated in the England squad and he will give everything.’
Tuchel was asked if the team had missed Mount in the past two games after he sustained a small injury in the Aston Villa Carabao Cup tie.
‘We need to be careful. We took him out at half-time against Tottenham because he had a rough half, and everyone was talking about us being good in the second half when he wasn’t on the pitch. Suddenly he’s missing and now he’s the one.
‘It’s not on single players. Of course we want to have Mason, and we know the energy he gives, and of course we miss him, but we cannot start reducing our performances to the players who are missing.
‘Do we miss NG [Kante]? Of course. Do we miss Reece James? Of course. And still there would be a selection to make because we can only start with 11 players. Do we miss Christian Pulisic? Of course we miss his sprints and intensity. But we have a squad, and we have the duty to find solutions.’
Ben Chilwell did not get the call-up from England having found playing time hard to come by this term.
‘For him it would be nice to be selected. He’s happy to play for England, he’s proud and he has the quality to play for England.
‘He had a bit of a rough start, he was a bit unlucky. He has his own story like every player. I understand and for sure Chilly understands he has to earn it with minutes. He did not have too many minutes. We can understand why he wasn’t selected. It’s not a big drama and there is no need to worry.
‘Once he plays more minutes for us and plays with quality, he will have the chance to be selected.’
It is another quick turnaround for Tuchel and his charges with kick-off against the Saints coming less than three days after our defeat in Turin.
The boss revealed what the agenda has been since the squad returned from Italy and explained why the consecutive losses should not be blown out of proportion.
‘We did not train a lot. Yesterday was for recovery, and today the guys who played 90 minutes in Turin did not do a lot. So it’s been business as usual.
‘I know it’s always about reactions and what we demand. We always demand the very best, no matter if we have won or lost. We hate to lose. We looked it up, we lost against Arsenal and also at Wembley last season, and we came back stronger against Leicester.
‘We also have to respect the quality and personality of our opponent. Then it’s also [recognising] we were not really bad. It wasn’t a long time ago we were playing very good matches, like the second half against Tottenham. It feels long ago because there were so many games in between, but it feels long ago.
‘We missed a little step from 90 per cent to 100 per cent,’ added Tuchel.
‘We don’t have to question ourselves deeply or doubt each other. It’s about stepping up and improving. The games were very different from each other. City was about high pressing and ball possession, Juventus was about deep defending and no ball possession. We played against the extremes.
‘We can predict we will play against another extreme team in high pressing now. The most important thing is to keep a clear head and be well prepared. This is what we will do.’