Tuchel will take no risks with Lukaku for Juve clash, Havertz a doubt

By Sports Desk November 22, 2021

Thomas Tuchel is unsure whether Romelu Lukaku will return for Chelsea's Champions League showdown with Juventus, while Kai Havertz could miss out entirely.

Record signing Lukaku has been out for a month due to an ankle injury, but is closing in on a comeback.

The Belgium striker was able to resume training last week, but Blues manager Tuchel will not rush him back into the side at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

While Lukaku's involvement appears undecided, Havertz seems unlikely to feature after suffering a hamstring injury against Leicester City.

Jorginho will be available after coming off with cramp in the win over the Foxes as the second-placed holders look for a win that would put them level on 12 points with the Group H leaders.

Asked about the possibility of Lukaku returning, Tuchel said: "Not sure yet. He seemed okay in training yesterday [Sunday], we will see about the reaction.

"He has an appointment with the doctors and physios. Maybe we can bring 20 players to the squad. The last minutes would be the absolute maximum.

"Jorginho is absolutely okay. Kai had a hamstring problem so we took him off and we have some doubts with him."

Chelsea are unbeaten in nine matches – winning seven and edging a penalty shootout – since losing 1-0 to the Bianconeri in September.

It has been reported that owner Roman Abramovich could be in attendance for the battle between the top two, but Tuchel says that will not give his side extra motivation to put on a show.

The German said: "Our show is the basics. We give our very best if the owner is here or if he is not here. He will watch us closely anyway if he isn't here.

"We put a show on a daily basis and that is with hard work to make him happy and all our supporters who are in the stadium tomorrow. We need everyone full on and ourselves to be at the top level."

The London club have only won one of their past 10 Champions League encounters with Italian sides.

Tuchel says Chelsea will not shoot themselves in the foot by taking a gung-ho approach to trying to qualify as group winners.

"We will not risk our qualification and go all in if the situation is like this, but we will try everything to win the game and the group and to do this, we have to win the game," said the former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss.

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    Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has said he is hopeful the takeover of the club will go through "as quickly as possible".

    The Blues agreed to terms for the sale of the club to an ownership group led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss for £4.25billion earlier in May.

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    Chelsea agonisingly lost the FA Cup final on Saturday to Liverpool in a penalty shoot-out, the second time they have been beaten in such fashion by the Reds having also been denied in the EFL Cup final in February.

    However, Tuchel was keen to dismiss the idea that losing two shoot-outs makes the season a failure for his team, who also fell away in the Premier League title race after a run of games between December and January that saw them win only one of seven outings (D5, L1).

    Chelsea will confirm third place in the league should they beat Leicester at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

    "I refuse to judge the season by two penalty shoot-outs," Tuchel insisted. "If we won both, it would be one of the most successful seasons with four titles [after winning the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup].

    "We lost two but it doesn't make it less impressive what the team put in. But we're the first to admit that it's not the same to play a final and win a final.

    "So it's a bit of an imbalance judging the season given the circumstances. We struggled with corona, long-term injuries, a war that had a big effect on our club in particular.

    "There's always room for improvement, but we arrived in this [FA Cup] with key players out, Mateo [Kovacic] and N'Golo [Kante] with only half a training session, with the club sanctions, there is a lot of things that are impressive. Hopefully, we can come third and that is progression.

    "We maybe compete against the best teams to play in this league. So from there we go. There is no need to lose sleep and think we should've done this and this.

    "There is a lot of ambition in us that we are not satisfied."

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    Christensen's contract expires at the end of the month and Barcelona are the favourites to sign him on a free transfer.

    The Denmark international started in the 3-0 Premier League win at Leeds United, but was not in the squad for a defeat to Liverpool on penalties on the FA Cup final at Wembley last Saturday.

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    Asked if Christensen will return, the German said in a press conference: "Not sure yet if he's involved tomorrow and at the weekend.

    "Andreas came on the morning of the match and told me he was not ready to play.

    "He had his reasons, they stay private and confidential, but it was not the first time as you can see over the last weeks we had some of the same situations why he did not play so regularly.

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    ROUND-UP

    – The Mirror is reporting 20-year-old Ajax defender Jurrien Timber is a target for Manchester United, with talks already believed to have taken place over his transfer.

    – Juventus have offered Paul Pogba, who will be available on a free transfer when his United deal expires, a three-year-deal and a €7.5million annual salary, according to Goal.

    – In further anticipated player turnover at Old Trafford, Roma coach Jose Mourinho wants to bring in 33-year-old Nemanja Matic on a free transfer, per Calciomercato.

    – Manchester City are preparing a £30m move for Brighton and Hove Albion's Marc Cucurella, the Daily Mail reports.

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