Chelsea men's first team coach Zsolt Low has provided an update on Thomas Tuchel and discussed the tricky goalkeeping decision that will need to be made ahead of tomorrow’s Club World Cup final.
Tuchel has been isolating since testing positive for Covid-19 at the end of last week and has not been able to travel to Abu Dhabi yet as the Blues seek to add fresh silverware to our trophy cabinet.
There is still hope the boss can travel, as Low explained in a pre-match media conference looking forward to our meeting with Palmeiras to decide which club are champions of the world.
‘We still have 30 hours until the game,’ said Low. ‘We still hope he can come and enjoy the group and the final as soon as possible.
‘He is following the rules and getting tested. There is a lot of time. Any test he does could be negative. We hope this happens in the next hours. Thomas absolutely thinks he can be there, and the team and the whole staff want him to come for the final.
‘We hope he can come, but if he cannot, we are still well prepared. We have had a lot of meetings. We had a video conference after the first game analysing it, and seeing what we can do better and what problems we had. We are absolutely clear what happened in the first game and what we have to do better in the second game.’
The big decision awaiting the coaching staff centres on which goalkeeper to select. Edouard Mendy has returned from the Africa Cup of Nations fresh from helping Senegal triumph, while in his absence Kepa has starred between the posts for us, not least in the narrow semi-final victory over Al Hilal on Wednesday.
It is clear plenty of thought will go into the decision.
‘We are very happy with both goalkeepers,’ stressed Low.
‘It’s a good, comfortable situation to have two goalkeepers like this. When Edou couldn’t be with the team, Kepa stepped up and brought big performances.
‘Now Edou is back, he is fresh. Now he is fully involved in yesterday’s training and training later today. We are very happy he is healthy. He is in good shape with good experience behind him, and he is absolutely ready to play the game [if selected].
‘We have to take this decision tonight or latest tomorrow. We talk to Thomas about it, we talk with the goalkeeper coaches, and we will make the final decision tomorrow, some hours before the game.
‘Whoever sits on the bench has nothing to be worried or sad about. Both goalkeepers have had big performances in the last weeks, and that’s why it’s just a decision for this game.’