There was good news for Thomas Tuchel to report on the injury front as he confirmed at his pre-Porto press conference that three players with some doubts over their fitness would be available for the Champions League quarter-final…
N’Golo Kante missed the weekend defeat to West Brom after suffering a minor muscle injury on international duty, while Christian Pulisic was withdrawn at half-time having felt some discomfort in his hamstring.
However, the American’s pre-emptive precaution had avoided more serious injury and he trained this morning at Cobham prior to the team travelling to Spain for tomorrow evening’s first leg against Porto, as did N’Golo Kante, who Tuchel revealed would start on the bench.
Tammy Abraham, who has not featured in the past eight matches, would also be part of the squad.
‘They are fit enough to be in the squad and will be in the squad so this is good news,’ said the boss.
‘Christian went out right before the injury could happen. He said at half-time he felt if he continued it would be an injury coming so we had to take him off.
‘Tammy is in the squad and NG [Kante] just did the last test and will be on the bench. He feels very comfortable and comfortable enough to be on the bench.’
Olivier Giroud has fond memories of the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium after scoring a hat-trick against Sevilla there in the group stage and the Frenchman’s confidence could be crucial for Tuchel’s Blues as they push for a place in the last four.
‘He’s in the running and in the squad,’ added Tuchel of his experienced centre-forward. ‘He’s absolutely excited to return to Sevilla and play there so it gives him a good feeling.
‘He’s been very strong for us in the Champions League and he has history in Sevilla scoring many goals in this campaign.
‘I’m super happy because today is the first time everybody is back in training so this is what you want. We will have some major decisions to take and I have the feeling that we’re absolutely ready for tomorrow’s game.’