Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that both N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic will miss Chelsea’s Champions League opener against Zenit St Petersburg.
Kante picked up an injury during the Blues’ 1-1 draw with Liverpool just before the international break, while Pulisic picked up a knock while on USMNT duty at the beginning of the month.
Neither featured in the 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday evening, and Tuchel has now provided an update on both players in his pre-match press conference: “Christian did not train with us. N’Golo had two sessions yesterday and today but CL game comes too early for him.”
Chelsea go into this season’s Champions League as holders, after beating Manchester City 1-0 in last season’s final courtesy of a Kai Havertz goal.
Reflecting on the triumph, Tuchel revealed that he views the victory as his greatest managerial moment – though he did add a typically endearing caveat.
“I would say yes but in general, I find it hard to rate achievements,” Tuchel said. “I try to be the very best I can. When I was an Under-14 coach and now. To the outside, trophies then yes it is the biggest title that I have won so far. But honestly it feels like a long time ago.”
Tuchel took over at Stamford Bridge part way through the Champions League campaign and praised Frank Lampard for the work he did to get Chelsea into the knockout stages.
“It never was a problem for me to accept the work from Frank to get Chelsea out of the group stage. I feel the title is still mine. It felt in this moment like my team, that we are together and this does not mean we deny the work and effort that Frank Lampard did.”
Tuchel also revealed that he would be making full use of the 12-man bench afforded to Champions League managers, confirming that Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Malang Sarr would all be named as substitutes.
The trio were linked with moves away from the club in the summer and have not featured so far this season.
“If you get registered, it is your duty to be ready. If you come here to Chelsea every day, it is your duty to be ready. You have to, once you are on the list. It is a base line for everything. Nobody gets a gift tomorrow. Ruben and Malang will be in the squad tomorrow,” he said.