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Thomas Tuchel Explains Chelsea Team Selection Ahead of Real Madrid Clash

Thomas Tuchel has delivered his reasoning for his Chelsea team selection to face Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Chelsea play the first leg of the quarter-final tie at Stamford Bridge before heading to the Bernabeu next week for the return leg. 

Chelsea XI to face Real Madrid: Mendy; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Azpilicueta; Mount, Havertz, Pulisic

Bench: Kepa, Bettinelli, Alonso, Kovacic, Lukaku, Werner, Loftus-Cheek, Chalobah, Saul, Ziyech, Kenedy, Sarr

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On the team selection and Reece James returning, Tuchel said: "We waited so long for him to come back but then he had this re-injury and then caught Covid during the international break when we wanted to build him up so now it’s time.

"We wanted to make him start in the last match against Brentford but we went for control of the minutes to bring him on only in the second half. Today he will play as long as possible. From quality and what he gives to the team, he’s a huge asset and that’s why it’s his moment to start."

On Pulisic, he added: "He can cause problems to anybody. With Reece James against Brentford, we were forced to not let him start and with Christian Pulisic the same. He had three matches in the international break and jetlag with huge travel demands on his shoulders.

"Now the two are back and we hope they have the impact that we want them to have. We want to play a physical and intense game and need to be fully focused because there’s a lot of quality on the other side."

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