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‘It’s not fair’ – Chelsea suffer double injury blow as Tuchel criticizes festive schedule

Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea
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The Blues suffered two more injury problems during their eighth game of December.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel feels the Premier League’s festive schedule is ‘not fair’ for his ‘struggling’ side.

The Blues defeated Aston Villa 3-1 on Sunday. It was the club’s first win in two Premier League matches. However, the victory was marred by injury blows to midfielder N’Golo Kante and defender Thiago Silva in the second half.

Kante came off shortly after the hour mark with a recurrence of the knee injury he suffered in Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Juventus last month.

Silva, on the other hand, left the pitch in the 52nd-minute of the game with a hamstring issue, leaving Tuchel sweating over the pair’s availability for Wednesday’s clash against Brighton.

“N’Golo is very painful on exactly the same spot where he had his injury versus Juventus,” Tuchel said in a post-match press conference.

“Thiago came off with hamstrings, hopefully he went out before it became an injury. From there we try to continue and find a new squad and strong squad on Wednesday.”

‘We are struggling, we’re pressing our players’

A week after seeing the Premier League deny a request to postpone their 0-0 draw at Wolves, Chelsea welcomed back Callum Hudson-Odoi and Romelu Lukaku.

The pair recovered in time from COVID-19 to play at Villa Park, although forwards Kai Havertz and Timo Werner remained absent for what was the club’s eighth game across all competitions in December.

“It’s not fair,” Tuchel added to reporters. “We’ve all been in bed for 10 days and we play against teams who prepare with games postponed, and who prepare with one week for these matches.

“They make us play all the time, even if we have Covid. We have new injuries and it won’t stop. People at the green table, in offices, make these decisions.

“We are struggling, we’re pressing our players. I have maximum respect for what the players did. We do changes because of injuries. We don’t change for tactical reasons any more.”

Tuchel also reiterated his call for the Premier League to allow five substitutes in games to help deal with the pandemic, although he concedes it’s unlikely that will happen.