Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has revealed that he is unsure whether N’Golo Kante and Thiago Silva will be able to feature in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Tottenham.
The pair tested positive for Covid-19 in the build-up to the first leg, which Chelsea won 2-0 but could have easily had four or five, and they missed the subsequent FA Cup tie against Chesterfield through isolation.
Silva’s wife, Belle, took to Twitter to reveal that the centre-back is now negative, but Tuchel confessed both will have to prove their fitness if they want to feature in the game.
“Right now, I would say we have the same guys we had for the cup game,” he told said during his pre-match press conference. “No news and no new injuries, which is good for us.
“We have to wait for last-minute decisions on Thiago and N’Golo.”
He continued: “I don’t know. We have to wait, to see if they are ready in training and respond. If we do it it’s a gamble. I’m not sure if we do it and how much responsibility we can take there. We have to do it step by step and not in the moment am I sure if they come to training. If they come to training we have to see and decide there.”
Tuchel was reluctant to commit to anything in his team news as he knows all too well how late Covid-19 cases or injuries can disrupt his preparations.
“It has a huge impact of course,” he explained. “Every single day and before matchdays, we have training today at 4pm so we hope that everybody makes it into the building with a negative test. That is never 100% sure.
“For example now, if you want to release players after being positive, with N’Golo and Thiago Silva, you have to follow official protocol, which we do, then we have to be very flexible and it can be that both of them arrive later in the afternoon and train. Hopefully it’s like this, but you can only ever be sure an hour before training. It’s more or less a daily routine, daily repetition of the same scenario.
“We are getting used to it. We don’t want to get used to it but we are getting used to it because this is what we do, adapt to the situation and find solutions. It’s demanding but it’s not impossible.”
Chelsea travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with a two-goal cushion from the first leg, which saw Tuchel shift to a 4-4-2 and reap the rewards with an early Kai Havertz strike and an own goal from Ben Davies.