Thomas Tuchel eager to see Chelsea relaunch season with January transfer move

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Thomas Tuchel wants to bring in at least one signing before the transfer window shuts.

The German warned Chelsea’s hierarchy earlier this month that the season could be wrecked if signings were not made following injuries to Ben Chilwell and Reece James.

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He has since seen their title challenge collapse – and admits defeat to Manchester City last week mentally affected his players.

Chelsea are now 12 points adrift of the runaway leaders, having played a game more – and have won just one of their last seven in the Premier League.

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A left wingback remains the priority for Tuchel – but attempts to recall Emerson Palmieri from loan at Lyon have so far been rejected by the French club.

Kenedy, who was recalled from loan at Flamengo last week, is seen as an option if no alternatives can be secured, but Tuchel wants to bring in a specialist wingback.

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Ousmane Dembele is also on Chelsea’s radar, with Tuchel a long-term admirer, but cover for Chilwell is the priority.

The England international is out for the season after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage and Tuchel believes his absence has had an effect on the form of Mason Mount, as well as the effectiveness of his preferred 3-4-3 system.

Discussing potential signings as the end of the window approaches, he said only, “I cannot say no to it. Also I am not convinced it is a clear yes.”

That response pointed to Tuchel’s own frustrations this month. While he has not pressured the club to recruit, even in the face of a host of injuries in defence, including Trevoh Chalobah and Andreas Christensen, as well as James and Chilwell, he made clear his concerns about the impact of so many absences at such a pivotal stage of the season. Thiago Silva was also ruled out with Covid.

And he believes his fears have been justified in recent weeks.

He said: “It is a bit [of] proof that the schedule we had in particular was a bit too much at the same time where we struggled with injuries.

“First it was the midfield and then in the second period it was all strikers and now suddenly it is all defenders who are out. It is a bit awkward to deal with it. We struggled to deal with it and find the same rhythm, find the same consistency in our results. This is proven.”

Defeat to City last week effectively ended Chelsea’s feint title chances – and Tuchel admits it has had a telling impact on him and his players, which he believes was evident in the 1-1 midweek draw with Brighton.

He gave his squad two days off to recharge batteries ahead of Sunday’s crunch game against Tottenham, which could be pivotal in the race for top four.

He admits he needed a rest too – but spent his break was having dental treatment.

Thomas Tuchel eager to see Chelsea relaunch season with January transfer move
© Provided by Evening Standard (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

“You really disconnect at the dentist,” he said. “It is hard to think about football when you are in the dentist chair.

“We needed it. And I meant all of us. This is a team effort and I felt that the team was mentally tired, which I could understand. I felt them disappointed and frustrated after the result at City and it was harder for us to overcome the obstacles that for us are normal to overcome.

“There are reasons for it. Reasons that we talked about, reasons for which we cannot be blamed.

“I know it is always like this and we don’t want to make excuses, but we want to be adult enough and honest enough to look at the reasons why we feel this kind of fatigue.

“The result against City did not help and yes, we feel it. We try to bring ourselves into the right mindset and that your emotions don’t take over. That you know what you are doing.

“You can function like you want to function and when things are tough you play your role. But it’s not always easy and we have not always been so good at it and on Tuesday at Brighton, that’s why we got a draw. In isolation this is not a problem.

“We can see we lack a bit of freshness and the mental ability to step up again and again and not accept it.

“Two days off alone do not solve the problems, it’s on us now to use today and tomorrow to have the absolutely right attitude for Sunday.”

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