Thomas Tuchel has admitted he can understand if Ben Chilwell has concerns about his spot in the Chelsea side going forward after the German replaced Frank Lampard. Since Tuchel arrived, Chilwell was hauled off midway through the second half against Wolves and didn’t start again until the victory at Sheffield United as Alonso was brought back in from the cold, scoring against Burnley and starting the win at Tottenham Hotspur. Tuchel revealed on Friday that he had spoken with Chilwell about his situation and that the defender has to trust the head coach that he will be rewarded.
Thomas Tuchel said “Yes, if he is [worried] I can understand. He has had some difficult decisions against him where they were tight choices. I took the choice for Marcos where we played with a five [against Burnley] because he was more familiar with the position. He played there under Antonio Conte and we opted for Marcos against Burnley for his strengths in the air for headers to defend and attack set-pieces. Marcos had a really good match where he scored a decisive goal and from there it was hard to come back for Tottenham. We didn’t make changes in this position. I spoke to him before the Tottenham match and said you have to trust me now that I see your talent and potential. I see also with Chilly a very nice guy, reflective guy and an intelligent guy. I maybe felt in the first days that it is possible that he thinks a lot about this situation but hopefully not too much because he can trust himself and us as a staff that he can keep pushing and we will find possibilities to reward him. He showed a good performance in Sheffield United and it was important for him and the team. Sometimes it takes a little time and there are hard decision at the moment, at a club like Chelsea, with a squad of 22 players. Hopefully, we don’t have a lot of injuries but we have to deal with these situations. It is my job to not lose these players and to help them not lose the trust. If he keeps on going, as a fantastic guy, he has a lot of potential and we will find possibilities for him on the pitch. At the same time, we wanted to give a fair start to everybody and not judge the amount of money that the club has spent but give everybody a feeling of a fresh start. Yes, Marcos is at the moment is a guy who took advantage of this situation but it is not the end of Chilly’s development. That’s for sure.”
Chilwell was a £50million recruit from Leicester City in the summer but his move went somewhat under the radar as Lampard splashed out on Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz as well as part of a £220million spending spree. Chilwell played almost every game while Lampard was in charge after the manager froze out Marcos Alonso, who decided to watch the second half of the 3-3 draw with West Bromwich Albion in September on the team bus rather than from the bench having been dragged off at half time. With Emerson Palmieri not providing much competition either, Chilwell was an almost permanent fixture in the Blues’ back four for the hectic start to the 2020/21 season and that may have come at a cost for the England international.
Chilwell’s form was patchy at best during Lampard’s final days as manager and with the arrival of Tuchel, the left back has had to be patient for minutes. It’s a toss up between Alonso and Chilwell as to who gets the starting nod for the visit of the Toon to west London on Monday night. Tuchel has shown a preference for a back five in his early days as head coach, a role that suits Alonso more than Chilwell. However, the England man is the better option in a back four so the decision on tactics will decide who starts next week.
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