Thomas Tuchel Has Been Told That Potential Carabao Cup Success Should Be Low Down On His Priority List Due To Injury

The Blues go into the last 16 tie against Southampton off the back of three consecutive wins in all competitions but one of those wins came at a cost.

In the Malmo Champions League group game encounter last midweek, both Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner were forced to come off with ankle and hamstring related injuries respectively.

Tuchel updated in his pre-match Norwich press conference: “And to make the question a longer question how is Christian Pulisic?

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“They [Werner and Lukaku] are both out for tomorrow, in fact all three of them are out for tomorrow.

“No big news for Romelu [Lukaku] and Timo [Werner], I can say they are out for tomorrow and they will be out for the Southampton game and from there we see what’s next.

“I don’t think it makes any sense that we go into speculation about how long it’s going to be. If we’d done this with Christian Pulisic you’d think maybe I’m a liar, constantly lying and hiding something.

“But the fact is you never know, things can be shorter than expected or they can be longer than expected.

“The one thing I can tell you for sure is that they are both in treatment, they are both feeling positive, they are not too worried and are out for the next two games for sure, and then we’ll see.”

Thankfully, these two injuries didn’t hinder the goal prowess shown by the other Chelsea attackers in the most recent 7-0 demolition of Norwich City.

However, with Southampton, Newcastle and Burnley all coming up next in such a short time frame, squad depth will be tested to the max and there could be a good chance that the Champions League winning manager may have to start making some difficult decisions regarding prioritising certain games or competitions, despite his admission at the start of the season that he wants to win everything.

β€œThis is why we are here,” he said via tribalfootball.com. β€œWe are here to win and the club is built to win and this is the DNA of the club.

β€œWe want to be competitive and this is what we are up for as coaches and as a team.

β€œSo any competition we start, we go for the very best and this is a final at Wembley that we want to reach.”

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With these comments in mind, The Athletic’s Straight Outta Cobham crew discussed whether Tuchel may have to make sacrifices to get through the season in the best way possible, with the FIFA Club World Cup adding a further competition to the mainstream four that the west Londoners normally compete in annually.

Chelsea correspondent for The Athletic Simon Johnson explained: “In many ways, the situation hasn’t changed.

“Chelsea knew that the League Cup and the Club World Cup was going to be an issue – it’s just a different time now where the fixture list is now going to be clashing with possibly the FA Cup as well and even AFCoN [African Cup of Nations] which is something that would be significant if they were to lose Mendy and Ziyech.

“Anyway, yes of course it (Carabao Cup) is at the bottom of the list in terms of priority but Tuchel was commenting on it saying essentially ‘I’m the Chelsea manager and I can’t pick and choose, I’ve got to win every game.’

“It reminds me of Liverpool a couple of years ago where they fielded a completely weakened side and the first choice team has to go off and compete.

“I like the League Cup but when you are a top team competing on all fronts, it’s very difficult to squeeze it in and I think that the Club World Cup will cause Chelsea a lot of headaches.

Johnson’s opinion on the situation at hand coincides with a situation that club legend Frank Lampard dealt with well during his tenure.

There was one point in the 2019 where Lampard and Jody Morris had to make some difficult decisions due to fixture congestion and how that could impact badly on the Premier League and Champions League form.

“We’ve had seven wins on the trot,” the 43-year-old said after a Carabao Cup tie back in the 2019/20 campaign.

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“We’ve had taxing games in the Champions League. We want to get into the next stage of that.”

“Our form in the league has been really good. They’re the priorities. But we want to win matches and give everything.

“Today, I had to look at my squad and who deserves minutes. The young players. The competition [Carabao Cup] has an element of that for us.”

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