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Every Word Thomas Tuchel Said Ahead of Chelsea's Premier League Clash With West Ham

Thomas Tuchel addressed the media ahead of Chelsea's Premier League clash with West Ham on Saturday afternoon.

Chelsea maintained top spot in midweek, just, after a narrow 2-1 win over Watford thanks to goals from Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech at Vicarage Road.

They were well below-par on Wednesday night and were hit with an injury crisis as Ben Chilwell, N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Reece James were all absent from the matchday squad. 

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Tuchel's men head to the London Stadium this weekend to face the Hammers who were held by Brighton during the week following Neal Maupay's last minute equaliser.

Here's what the Chelsea boss had to say in full in his pre-match press conference:


On team news:

“Almost need a list! We did not train with Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo, Ben Chilwell and Trevoh Chalobah. They are all out for tomorrow. Everyone else is available. Every player (out) is a player too much. It is a lot of midfield players. It has been many days without Kova, we miss him.Of course, Ben Chilwell is a long one. For Trevoh we need more examinations to see how bad it is.”

On West Ham:

“They have almost been in the top four last season, they were fighting the whole season for these places. Very, very good team. Very good coach and huge solidarity that they show. It is always a joy to watch their games. They play with a lot of energy, a lot of positivity on what they are doing and their belief. They do not have too many changes. They play as a team. They do what they do good and believe in themselves. Everybody is where they deserves to be, they are fourth place and do strong in European competitions. It is a tough match, a tough team to play against. It will be an exciting Sunday afternoon… maybe not afternoon! A 12:30 match on Saturday. We need to be on our top level to have a chance to win.”

On Ralf Rangnick claims about rejecting Chelsea in February, when Tuchel was already in charge:

“Maybe after our draw against Wolverhampton! Maybe the bosses saw the draw and said ‘he does not know what he’s doing, let’s bring Ralf in for four months!’ He must have the date wrong, hopefully! Otherwise, well, you know it’s a nice job to have in world football - to be the coach of Chelsea. You need to be realistic. If you get the phone call you should be aware you are not the only one getting a phone call. Now I am here, I am happy.”

On tough fixture list:

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“It’s always another challenge coming. We had a very exciting week with Leicester then Juventus then Man United - big names, big challenges and a lot of reward for good performances. Then there was Ballon d’Or selection and suddenly weekend game against a strong and brave Watford side who had nothing to lose. A lot of distractions and different approaches to games. From Wednesday afternoon to Saturday morning, there is simply no time to dream or to lose focus. You need to refocus straight away and this is what we did. We had already one meeting today in the morning, we will have another in the evening to prepare our team because tomorrow there is no time to do this.”

“It is tough. Sometimes we are fatigued. Sometimes it is stressful but this is what we want and this is what we love. We are in the middle of it.”

On Romelu Lukaku:

“I will not tell you (if he starts) because this is part of the line-up where I want the opponents also to know very late who starts for us. He is in training, he wants to start, he is eager to start. Like you asked before, it is for the whole team. How difficult is it to reach the top level? It is difficult. How difficult is it for Romelu and the other guys after injury to hit their top level? I don’t know exactly. We should try to always reach the top level. Maybe it is different in every match. Watford cost us a lot of problems so we need to focus on not to allow too many chances. It was a mental game to hang in there, not be too frustrated and be clinical and escape with the win. Tomorrow will be different, a completely new team. We will have some changes and from there we go. We believe what we do, we are full of confidence. It is a tough one for the whole team and for Romelu if he starts or comes from the bench.”

On Ralf Rangnick:

“I haven’t spoken to him. If I had, I would tell him my congratulations. Nobody needs advice and nobody needs advice from me. I have enough to do to get us going the right direction and this is where the focus is. Every situation is different, everyone does it in their own way. He can prove himself now in a very big club in the biggest league.”

On Saul Niguez:

“He is still adapting and had an early yellow card (vs Watford). He was a bit shy in the duels, for that we lacked physicality. He did not want to risk a red card, which was a good thing on the evening as we did not want to be a man down. I think he could play in a wing-back role for us, even if we play a dominant game in an offensive game. He is very strong arriving in the opponent's box, very strong in finishing and arriving on the second post with his head. We sometimes do this in training. That is why we have the impression he could maybe be a good fit. Maybe in the next games we simply have to try it because Chilly is out long-term and a lot of games are coming and we can’t put every game on Marcos’s (Alonso) shoulders.”

On Hakim Ziyech:

“I like him. I can feel it. He feels better now, it took him a long time. He was always very ambitious. With his shoulder injury I could feel the 100% he could give was not the 100% of his top level. Now he feels much better, he smiles, he is happy, he is decisive. He had huge influence now from the bench against Leicester and Watford, two matches in between from the start. He’s in a good shape, in good form and state of mind and we want him absolutely to be influential. I will not tell you if he starts tomorrow or comes from the bench.”

On Reece James & Jorginho’s availability:

“It is massive because Reece is the specialist on the side and Jorgi is the guy left from Kova, N’G and him. From the three whose shoulders we put the central role over a very long period now. I am absolutely happy that Ruben steps in and the way he does it but yeah, we are happy that Jorgi is back in training and we can’t wait for Kova and N’G to come back. It is a very important part of the season and our games. The midfield role is where we miss the experience and the leadership qualities of the guys who are out. It is good that they are back. Listen, we will never complain because we are here to find solutions. If we miss players, other players will play. They have contracts here because they deserve. This is what we do. We will have a strong team on the pitch tomorrow. We had a strong team on the pitch against Watford. We are used to having some changes in between. This is where we go.”


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