Thomas Tuchel says Kalidou Koulibaly will slot straight back into the side for tomorrow’s game against Southampton having served his one-match ban.
The defender was sent off late on in the defeat at Elland Road for two bookable offences so had to sit out the weekend win over Leicester City, interrupting his start to life at Chelsea, but Tuchel has confirmed it will continue on the South Coast.
‘He will play at Southampton, he will be on the pitch,’ said the boss. ‘He’s a massive player for us.
‘I already see him emerging as a leader. He’s a fantastic player, a fantastic personality, and I’m so happy with what I see, how he behaves, how he trains.
‘I see a lot of quality and everything that is needed to be a leading figure at Chelsea.’
On Saturday, Conor Gallagher followed Koulibaly in getting dismissed, meaning we have already had as many red cards in this Premier League season than in any since 2017/18.
Gallagher is now suspended tomorrow, and with N’Golo Kante injured and Mateo Kovacic only just returning to the fold, Tuchel admits he has problems to deal with in the centre of the park.
‘It's the area where normally I would love to have a headache who plays and who is on the bench. I thought we could have five players who could all play for us, and have on top Carney as an option as a young player.
‘The headache before the season was ‘do we have too many players there?’. It comes to the fifth game and we have only two left with experience in this position, and Kova from the bench. At the moment he’s not ready to play full matches at Premier League level. He has only had one week of training after his injury.
‘It’s a strange situation and one we don’t like. It’s like this and we will have something to think about – or maybe not because it’s so obvious who we have left!’