decision time | 

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel insists clubs needs help in Covid crisis as Jurgen Klopp supports a break

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel did not highlight the Wolves draw as being key to his side’s woes (Nick Potts/PA)

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel did not highlight the Wolves draw as being key to his side’s woes (Nick Potts/PA)

Thomas Tuchel has criticised the Premier League for putting Chelsea at “huge risk” by forcing the coronavirus-hit Blues to play Sunday’s top-flight clash at Wolves.

Chelsea were missing seven players through positive Covid-19 tests and opted not to risk Jorginho at Molineux after inconclusive results for the Italy midfielder.

The Blues saw their request for a postponement rejected, and could only field 14 outfield players in their match squad with N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Trevoh Chalobah also struggling for match fitness.

Six of the weekend’s top-flight fixtures had already been called off following Covid outbreaks at various clubs but the Blues’ game went ahead as scheduled.

“I understand everybody when they say you have 14 players,” the German said.

“But if you look into detail: Trevoh Chalobah has only had two training sessions, Mateo Kovacic one training session and N’Golo Kante one training session.

“We were put in a huge risk of health and safety to the players, not just because of Covid but also physically.

“I’m not sure if I’ll catch Covid. Hopefully I will not catch it.

“We put Kova into a Premier League match on the second day after a Covid infection. OK. If you count this as 14 available players to play in the Premier League, in the toughest league in the world, OK. It’s like this.”

A frustrated Tuchel has no idea what will happen with Chelsea’s fixtures against Brentford and Aston Villa next week.

“I’ve got no idea what happens now,” he said. “We had an idea (on Saturday evening) what’s going to happen, but then that didn’t happen.

“We will do tests, continue to test and go to training like we have been doing. We as a club have been very, very responsible.

“Now we will sit on the bus for three or four more hours together. And (on Monday) we will do training, do the testing and wait for the results.”

Asked if Chelsea could close their Cobham training ground to try to limit infections, Tuchel said: “How can we close the training ground when we are allowed to keep playing?

“We have now two days and we cannot close the training ground. How should that happen that we send everybody home? The decisions are the decisions.”

Chelsea’s Mason Mount appears dejected after his team dropped more points in the title race (Nick Potts/PA)

Chelsea’s Mason Mount appears dejected after his team dropped more points in the title race (Nick Potts/PA)

After Manchester City’s 4-0 win at Newcastle on Sunday, boss Pep Guardiola said he would back the Premier League to make the right calls.

“When the doctors, the scientists, the Premier League or whatever take a decision, I will support 100 per cent,” he said.

“We try to create a good environment for our people, our players, the staff and backroom staff to realise the danger is still already here and you have to be alert.

“We have to try knowing that it’s not easy because it’s not (just a) problem for the Premier League or the football world, it’s a problem worldwide that’s still out there.

“The virus is still out there, the new variant is there and what the Premier League is going to decide, we are going to support.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has now urged the game's authorities to give clubs help as they battle Covid outbreaks.

“We play now on Wednesday, Sunday and Tuesday. That is impossible,” he added. “We do not have the players. We could maybe have another case or two. We have to think about it, we cannot just push it all through.

“First of all take away the second semi-final of the Carabao Cup. Just play once, wherever you play it I don’t care. The 26th and 28th of December is really not possible. We would prefer to play but we need some help. If we carry on we cannot carry on as usual.

“If we don’t play any more and have a break I am fine. But I know the problem. When do you want to play the games. It is not that easy to fit them in. We said before Coronavirus that it was a bit busy and now it gives us a proper punch.”


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