Saturday, June 25

Thomas Tuchel bemoans Premier League’s refusal to allow five substitutions

Thomas Tuchel has revealed his belief that there is “zero chance” of the Premier League allowing teams to make five substitutions, despite the selection issues that recent Covid-19 outbreaks have caused.

A string of games have been postponed over the festive period due to players returning positive tests and even when matches have gone ahead, managers have generally had to deal with reduced numbers.

Chelsea are no different and speaking after his side defeated Aston Villa on Boxing Day, Tuchel revealed his desire for the rules to be changed.

“We’re just filling holes where we can fill them,” he told BBC Sport. “We have a Covid situation where for me five changes. We are in the middle of Covid where some teams get their games postponed, some not.

“We have three changes, which is a big disadvantage in Europe.”

When asked if he thought the extra substitutes would be permitted, Tuchel responded: “Zero chance. Zero.

“We are the only league that plays in winter, which I love. But we are not protecting the players because we are the only league in Europe which doesn’t have five changes.

“And then we compete against them in the Champions League. So, it’s a bit frustrating.”

Tuchel’s selection difficulties were not helped by both N’Golo Kante and Thiago Silva picking up knocks against Villa.

“‘N’Golo is very painful on exactly the same spot where he had his injury versus Juventus,” he said.

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“Thiago came off with hamstrings, hopefully he went out before it became an injury. From there we try to continue and find a new squad and strong squad on Wednesday.”

It was not all bad news for Chelsea, though. Romelu Lukaku played the most amount of minutes since returning from injury, scoring and winning a penalty after coming on a half time.

“I said to him to be very honest and tell me if he thinks he can play 45 minutes. He said yes and I said, okay, so try to play 45 minutes,” Tuchel added.

“There’s no doubt that he’s super important. Every player is super important but Romelu will be a key player, nobody doubts that, but last time he started for us was in October and not because of quality or because we have any doubts that we are better without him starting.”

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