Thomas Tuchel admitted he is worried by the injuries suffered by N’Golo Kante and Ben Chilwell during Chelsea’s 4-0 thrashing of Juventus on Tuesday night.
The Blues secured their place in the Champions League last 16 thanks to goals from Trevoh Chalobah, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner, but Kante and Chilwell are now doubts for Sunday’s Premier League clash with Manchester United, having been forced off either side of half-time.
Kante suffered what Tuchel described as a “twisted knee” in the first half, while Chilwell needed Chelsea physios to help him from the field, having also injured his knee in the second period.
Tuchel was unable to confirm the severity of their injuries afterwards, saying they will need to be examined more closely ahead of Sunday’s meeting with United.
“It worries me because he was in such a fantastic moment – like Reece (James) on the other side,” said Tuchel of Chilwell in his post-match press conference.
“They were in the best shape they could possibly be, so strong and so confident and with such a lot of quality.
“He was in a lot of pain, now he feels a bit better. He has an examination tomorrow (Wednesday) to be more precise. Hopefully we get away, fingers crossed, with not too bad news.
“With N’Golo, it’s a bit the same,” he added. “He got stronger and stronger in the first half but twisted his knee a little bit. Hopefully it’s not too bad.”
Tuchel hails ‘special’ academy mix
The injuries to Chilwell and Kante were the only negative on an otherwise fantastic night for Chelsea which included three goals from academy graduates in Chalobah, James and Hudson-Odoi.
Asked if the identity of the scorers made the victory even sweeter for the home fans inside Stamford Bridge, Tuchel said: “The crowd loves it and I’m absolutely convinced that everybody loves it.
“This is what makes teams special, not only the superstars and not only the best players from abroad, which we also have in our squad, but it’s the mix.
“To have talented and humble guys from the academy, full of quality, for whom it’s their biggest dream to perform at Stamford Bridge, to perform in blue, to be part of a strong Chelsea team, that is so nice.
“It’s another excellent day for the academy. Full credit to them. It’s a pleasure to have these boys and I strongly believe this is a huge part of our big success, that we have this mix between homegrown talents and top players.”
Tuchel delights at half-century
Tuchel was delighted to mark his 50th game in charge of Chelsea with such an emphatic victory – his 32nd in all competitions and his 31st clean sheet.
“It was a very nice match to be my 50th match,” he said. “I was not aware of it but your colleagues told me outside.
“Fantastic match. Fifty times already. It’s a pleasure to be at the club every single day. It’s a pleasure to be part of this team.
“The team has a fantastic attitude, is determined and hungry. We want to keep this energy and atmosphere in the group.
“Now it’s very important that everybody enjoys a free day, and on Thursday we need to be back, re-focus for Sunday. We know the challenges are coming and it’s good because it keeps us going.”
Chelsea resume their Premier League campaign at home to Manchester United on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm. The Blues are away to Zenit St Petersburg in their final Champions League group game on Wednesday December 8.