Thomas Tuchel has insisted he will not rush Romelu Lukaku back into the Chelsea side after his ankle injury despite the forward pushing to play.
The 28-year-old returned to action on Sunday afternoon in the final ten minutes against Manchester United as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw in west London.
Lukaku had been sidelined since October 20 after twisting his ankle against Malmo in the Champions League.
Tuchel has been left to deal with injury problems all over the pitch, from defence to attack, and the medical room is starting to fill up with Ben Chilwell (ACL) Mateo Kovacic (hamstring) and N'Golo Kante (knee) currently out.
Reece James, Jorginho and Timo Werner are all doubts to face Watford on Wednesday night, and despite confirming Lukaku is fit to feature, Tuchel won't take any risks with the Belgian.
"This would not be the first time that forced rest gives you a boost in the end because your body takes what it needs," said Tuchel, as quoted by football.london.
"I still think he was overplayed in the summer and he takes a lot of responsibility for the success of his team in Italy (Inter Milan) and at the Euros with Belgium.
"It is easy to work with him when he is injured because he is pushing every single day, pushing everybody to be out on the pitch again. He tries to push the coaches to convince us that he is ready to start. If it was up to him he would have started against Leicester when he was not even in the group.
“He is a big guy and a big guy with an ankle injury. My opinion is that it needs a bit of time because he puts a lot of weight on his ankle and is turning and for acceleration and deceleration this is a crucial part of these movements. We have given him some minutes and that helps him psychologically.
"He is happy, he smiles every day. He is determined and trains at a very high level. Once we are happy that he is fully free and ready to go and contribute, which is a lot. We still believe he can make a difference for us. At the same time, we will be patient.”
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