Thomas Tuchel has revealed behind-the-scenes conversations at Cobham that have an impact on team rotation decisions during this busy time, a situation highlighted by us playing Leicester so soon again after we faced the Foxes in the FA Cup final.
It means injury prevention is crucial during this period, especially with all three remaining games vital ones with the conclusion of our challenge for a top-four place, followed by the Champions League final, and Tuchel admits to being surprised the two clubs that played at Wembley on Saturday have our league encounter today rather than tomorrow.‘We never understood this, because it's both teams who are involved,’ he said, ‘and it would have been easier for both teams to handle a Wednesday game, and the next game is Sunday.‘So there's absolutely no reason to play Saturday, Tuesday, Sunday. It was absolutely logical to play the game on Wednesday and from a sporting side, I think that nobody can disagree.‘But okay, we were surprised, we could not change it and we cannot wish for our dates to play, so we will be ready today.’
Only having two clear days between fixtures is a pattern we have faced quite frequently so the load on the players is being monitored closely.‘There is a daily exchange between me, the fitness coaches and the medical team, to predict a little bit the workload, and what happens if we let each player play again,’ Tuchel explains.‘We talk about every single player, every single day. Are there any issues? Is there any history of muscle injuries? Is there any history of being injured in overload? Is there overload in speed, is there overload in work-rate? These talks we have every day.‘Maybe sometimes it adds on to it that we have some tactical changes, and you are always a little torn between not wanting to change at all because things are running well, and knowing I cannot play the next 10 matches with the same squad.’
Making progress in the cup competitions is what any coach wants but that does add to the busy schedule. Tuchel cannot allow himself to regret rotation decisions he makes.‘For example would Christian Pulisic have deserved to play in the FA Cup final?’ he asks. ‘Yes, of course, and it was not a good feeling to not let him start. But if he was in a risk of maybe re-injury and then he would be out for the next three matches, that would be the bigger regret for me.’