Thomas Tuchel is hoping that he will have Carlo Ancelotti next to him on the Stamford Bridge touchline for tomorrow’s Champions League tie against Real Madrid.

Ancelotti is currently the Spanish side’s manager, having previously spent two years as Chelsea head coach, which included guiding the Blues to our first-ever domestic Double by winning both the Premier League and FA Cup in 2009/10.

However, the Italian’s latest return to west London, for the first leg of our Champions League quarter-final, is currently in doubt after he tested positive for Covid-19 last week, subsequently missing Real’s win over Celta Vigo at the weekend, when his son and assistant coach Davide took his place in the dugout.

It is a situation Tuchel knows well, having missed our own FIFA Club World Cup semi-final in February due to Covid, before being able to join the team in Abu Dhabi the evening before the final following a negative test result, explaining it is not ideal even if modern technology means you are not completely cut off from your players.

‘It does make a difference, but nowadays you have a lot of virtual help, so I’m pretty sure he can do the team talks and can be in touch with all his players and staff,’ said Tuchel. ‘But it’s always better and much nicer to be there and have a direct influence.

‘I think this is what we as coaches love the most, to be in the middle of the room and be part of the group so that we can constantly communicate, not only with words but also with how you feel, like with a smile.

‘When all this is missing it’s strange, you can feel something is missing.’

Despite not travelling to London with his players today, Ancelotti is reportedly free from Covid symptoms and is still hoping he can provide a negative test result in time to travel from Madrid to London and make it to the Bridge for tomorrow night’s game.

Between his own experience in a similar situation and the healthy respect he holds for his opposite number, Tuchel is hoping that turns out to be the case so he can share the touchline with Ancelotti for this Champions League tie.

‘I hope he still makes it,’ added the German. ‘I have the information that he will try to arrive tomorrow in the evening. I personally hope he makes it.

‘He’s a big coach, a big personality and it would be nice to have him on the sideline for this kind of game.’