Every word Thomas Tuchel said on Havertz, Lukaku, Pulisic’s injury woe, Malmo and Chelsea’s form



Kai Havertz has struggled recently, this season he’s not got to that top level we hoped?

Yeah, that’s a fact, and he does everything to reach this level again and we do everything to help him. He’s an important player for our squad.

He had many games to start with, he started strong, he was very strong in pre-season. The story has not changed, but he lacks the statistics of decisive things, of goals and assists.

He needs to fight his way back into the team, and he gets minutes and this can happen any time. We trust in him, and we believe in him, and the rest has to come from him, and he’s willing to do so.

He’s in a good shape, he’s in a good mental state, he knows what he’s fighting for and that’s the situation right now.

Favourable games coming up, chance to experiment with formation?

Yes. Yes and no, we are always thinking about it.

But is it really a tactical thing? And does it have less value that we are a difficult team to play against rather than being a team that scores always easily three goals?

Is this the right step to take? This is the question. Of course we can take this step when we are fully convinced it’s the moment to select more offensive players.

But it’s also about balance, this game is about balance. And the main point is we stay active no matter what structure we play and the guys help each other on the field.

I think we can create chances in any kind of structure.

Of course we think about everything but you have to find the right moment, because like I said, there are also a lot of reasons to stay in our structure and increase and improve the behaviour within the structure because it’s most important how we play, that we stay aggressive.

We can also score from counter-attacks, ball wins, and it’s not only about creating chances against opponents defending deep. A lot of opponents are defending deep against us at the moment.

It’s maybe the most difficult, so we are looking for solutions, this is why we are here. One solution could be like you said to change formation, for more offensive players, so let’s see.

Any thoughts on Sweden or Swedish football? Anything?

I remember a very nice holiday in Stockholm, a beautiful city, relaxing holiday, very inspiring, very open-minded people.

Scandinavian style of living and style of thinking outside the box is very impressive and this is something that you feel in the approach to sport.

When you play Danish, Swedish teams, confident, not shy of trying new ways to reach their personal best level.

This is always inspiring, and much more I cannot share. Of course we are well-prepared to play against Malmo tomorrow. They deserve full respect.

What threats do you see in Malmo?

I think in general they are a team that plays with a lot of confidence, in their own style, and they trust in what they are doing.

They are maybe not used to this highest level, that’s why maybe they are struggling at the stat of the group stage, because the league in Sweden is not the same level as CL.

But they have a certain style, they trust that style and they are very confident within that so we absolutely should not underestimate them, respect them like any other team.

It’s a very successful coach, a very successful coach as a player and team that trusts its own style and can hurt you at any moment if you’re not awake.

Are the players still adjusting to Romelu Lukaku’s style having gone six games without a goal?

This will increase every day because we are in the process of adapting to each other.

In the very moment I feel Romelu a bit overplayed. I think he played too many competitions over the summer, too many competitions with the national team and now he has played the Nations League.

He is a fantastic athlete and such a competitive guy that he digs in deep, he wants to win these things and he never takes it easy and judges games.

He wants to be out there and win so I know how much he wanted to have a good outcome for Belgium in the Euros, and the Nations League meant a lot to him too.

It was a huge match for him personally, it means a lot to him to play for his country. So he takes it really seriously and if it doesn’t go well he always takes it on his shoulders.

I feel him a bit mentally tired. Not hugely that we have concern but for me he does not fully enjoy without having second or third thoughts, for me he overplayed and this is the key point.

Once he finds his rhythm and things a bit easier he will be fine but it is hard to judge if he really needs a break or if we need to keep him on the pitch.

The next international break is coming but this is what I feel, particularly for him. Some other players too for me is the same with Mason and Jorgi, they struggle. They have a lot of weight to carry for the countries, they take it and they love it, they are competitors.

If you play 1000 matches a year it can feel heavy although they love the game. This is what I feel.

Team news for the game?

It is very easy, only Christian Pulisic is missing.

Said you didn’t know who was nominated for Ballon D’Or, what have you done with your Coach of the Year award?

I don’t have a room for it, it is not in my office that everybody sees. I love my work, every day and that doesn’t change if I get a trophy or not.

I am very grateful that I got it, it is unbelievable to have it but I will not change my opinion on it.

Players aren’t at full tilt – playing too much football right now?

Our players? Yes, I think we lack a little bit of form and enthusiasm in the last percent and I think that one big reason is that we play too much.

Not “we” as a club, but the players play too much. This is the situation right now and what we are facing but this is nothing new, the next break is coming soon and it won’t change.

We also have another competition in January or February to play in and sometimes things can look a bit harder than it should be but don’t forget this is the Premier League.

It is the toughest league in the world and there is no shame in having a tight match against Brentford and there is absolutely no shame in getting a late winner against Southampton, it is what it is.

It is important that we are not too critical of ourselves. You have hard r moments, you fight through them and be a team nobody likes to play against. We get ourselves in a good way and then we try to improve.

It isn’t easy for any team in the Premier League to win any game so maybe this is normal and we have to embrace the situation that is difficult at the moment. We are finding our ways to win the games at the moment. There is still room to improve and we lack form and freshness, a bit of joy, and for me a key reason is not the mentality or attitude it is nothing else but what you said.

If you think about it, if you travel through time zones, in a hotel, then you change the hotel, one day at home, see family, then back to hotel, play at Brentford then it’s Champions League, it can be tiring and I can only repeat it, I am a big big friend of quality and quality player need to be in shape.

This is simply, too much football in too many competitions.

Christian Pulisic – has he had a setback as he has been out for quite a long time?

He got injured with the USA, he had a tough foul on his ankle. There is nothing to worry that we are hiding details or not telling you, I cannot give you the details because I am simply not a doctor.

He has some setbacks from pain, not from a major injury or complication; it is simply pain in the ankle that disturbs him.

When players like Christian, with their quick movements, they feel this pain and are not free in the movement, the recovery is not happening so you start all over again then the pain comes back when you reach a point, then you pause and start all over again.

We are very close. He was so close to coming back to team training last week but then he had a setback and a little reaction in pain, nothing serious.

He is very impatient, we can see him suffer in every meeting and when we see him here. He wants to be on the pitch and help us, to do his best but unfortunately the injury takes its time.





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