Thomas Tuchel has arrived in Abu Dhabi as Chelsea prepare for their match against Palmeiras in the Club World Cup Final.
The Blues boss has missed Chelsea‘s last two games against Al-Hilal, in the semi-final of the competition, and Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup after testing positive for Covid-19 ahead of the game at Stamford Bridge.
The German coach was required to test negative before being able to travel to Abu Dhabi for the tournament, but is also required to pass a PCR test upon entering the United Arab Emirates. The Blues boss arrived at the squad hotel via a side entrance and is able to quarantine there while waiting for this result.
Tuchel has been in constant communication with his coaching staff despite his absence, with regular meetings online while the squad prepares, and contact throughout matches with the 48-year-old watching on television.
Zsolt Low, Arno Michels and Anthony Barry have stepped up in Tuchel’s absence, with the assistance of Petr Cech. Low and Michels have led press duties before and after matches, with the former hopeful that Tuchel could still have some presence in the competition.
Low said: “We hope he can come. We have 30 hours to the game. He follows the rules and protocols. Still a lot of time. We hope he can come but if not we are well prepared, we have a lot of meetings.
“We talk about the game, we analyse the game and see what we can do better. We’re absolutely clear what to do better in the second game.
“Thomas will absolutely want to be here. The whole club wants that. We hope he can make it. We have 30 hours. Every test can be negative and with one he can fly and join the group.”
Chelsea will be pleased to see their head coach return as they aim to win the Club World Cup for the first time, having lost to Brazilian side Corinthians in the 2012/13 season.
The Champions League victor has won the Club World Cup in every subsequent edition of the competition with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Barcelona lifting the trophy.