Thomas Tuchel confirmed Trevoh Chalobah is the latest player to join Chelsea’s injury list following his withdrawal at Vicarage Road, but the boss can at least welcome Reece James back into the fold after he missed the midweek win over Watford.
The Blues had enjoyed a relatively injury-free start to the campaign but in recent weeks the treatment table has got busier and busier, something Tuchel acknowledged at his media conference to preview tomorrow’s London derby at West Ham.
However, he had some positive news to report too in his squad update less than 24 hours before kick-off.
‘Jorginho, Timo Werner and Reece James are training and available,’ said Tuchel.
‘We did not train with Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo, Ben Chilwell and Trevoh Chalobah today, and they are all out.
‘It’s a lot of midfield players. We have missed Kova for many weeks, and also NG. Ben Chilwell is a long one. For Trevoh we need more examinations to see how bad the injury is.
‘It’s important to have Reece and Jorgi back,’ added Tuchel.
‘Reece is the specialist on the side. Jorgi is the guy left from the three of him, Kova and NG on whose shoulders we put the central role over a long period. I’m absolutely happy with the way Ruben has stepped in, but we are happy Jorgi is back in training.
‘We can’t wait to have Kova and NG to come back because they are a very important part of our team in a midfield role where we miss experience and leadership qualities.
‘But we will never complain, we are here to find solutions. If we miss players, other players will play and they have a contract here because they deserve it. We will have a strong team on the pitch tomorrow.’
Romelu Lukaku has come off the bench in our past two games and Tuchel was asked if now is the time for him to start a game.
‘I will not tell you because this is a part of the line-up I want the opponents to know very late,’ he responded.
‘He is in training. He is eager to start. I don’t know exactly how difficult it is to reach your top level after injury, Romelu and all the other guys. We should try to reach our top level and maybe it is different in every match.
‘Watford caused us a lot of problems. Tomorrow will be new questions. We will have some changes again and from there we go.’
Speaking further on the test that awaits us at the London Stadium, Tuchel noted the qualities the Hammers possess and said they deserve to be flying high in the Premier League table.
‘They were fighting for the top four last season too,’ he pointed out.
‘They show huge solidarity. They play with a lot of energy, a lot of positivity in what they are doing. They believe in themselves, they do not have many changes, they play as a team, they deserve to be fourth.
‘It’s a tough match, a tough team to play against, but it’s also tough to play against us, so it will be an exciting Saturday. We need to be on our top level to have a chance to win.’