Thomas Tuchel says Ben Chilwell’s disappointment at being abandoned by England was a factor in his recent absence from the Chelsea squad.
Chilwell qualified for the European Championship final this summer, having played the entire game as Chelsea beat Manchester City in the Champions League final in Porto in May.
However, he didn’t play a single minute at Euro, with Gareth Southgate preferring to use Luke Shaw and Kieran Trippier – a right-back – to the left of his defense.
Chilwell returned from his holiday after the Euro to find his place in the Chelsea squad which had been taken by Marcos Alonso.
This means that Chilwell’s most recent competitive football was that Champions League final almost four months ago, and when asked if it was difficult for the left-back to be snubbed by England Tuchel said: “Yeah, it’s been absolutely difficult for him, and I think it’s pretty normal.
“He came from a Champions League win, 90 minutes, a solid performance and a good end to the season overall. He played a lot of minutes for us in many important games, at a level raised.
“Then it was a difficult Euro for him individually, because there were chances where he thought he could have played. I know it was difficult, because you feel like part of the team, but you don’t really feel it if you don’t sweat on the pitch and never wear the jersey, it’s a weird feeling, also to keep training for four or five weeks continuously.
“He paused and it was hard for him to totally relax and let go of that disappointment. When he got here I felt him a bit mentally tired, still worried about the situation.
“At the same time he was unlucky because Marcos was there the entire preseason and he seized the opportunity with such quality and attitude. Marcos was crucial for us from day one of the game. drive, then he delivered to Chilly’s place. “
Tuchel has revealed he has had talks with Chilwell to allay concerns the 24-year-old may have about his playing time, and suggested he could make his first appearance of the season when Chelsea host Zenit in of its Champions League opener on Tuesday.
“We had discussions with Chilly about the situation,” Tuchel explained. “He knows I would have done the same if it were the other way around – trust him if he was there and showed a personality and an attitude like Marcos did.
“There are no more worries for Chilly. He just needed to be a little patient and keep training. It took a while – we had to give him some time to be more patient with it. himself, to rediscover the joy and to find things a little easier on the ground and not wanting to push too hard.
“But he’s in the race now. He’s in good shape so he can play anytime.”
Tuchel: I have nothing to prove
Tuchel took over Chelsea last season after his predecessor Frank Lampard had already directed them to the Champions League knockout stage, but the German pushed back on suggestions. May’s final victory was somewhat diminished by her late arrival.
He said: “It was never a problem for me to accept Frank’s work that he did throughout the group stage.
“But it still looks like my title – it doesn’t look like half of a Champions League that I won. By the time of the final I was in charge and during the knockout matches so it was like my team and that we were together.
“Do I have something to prove, that I can bring teams through the group stage? No. It has nothing to do with it.
“We want to win it again, but we have to accept how difficult it is. No one here is afraid to admit that we are fighting for any competition we play in. We want to get off to a good start tomorrow and we have to start from scratch. “
Tuchel has confirmed that Chelsea will be without Christian Pulisic and N’Golo Kante for the Zenit visit.
Pulisic has yet to resume training after being injured in international service with the United States. Kante resumed training this week but the head coach said he would miss the game midweek so he is “absolutely ready” for the trip against rival Tottenham on Sunday, live Air sports.