Thomas Tuchel confirms Edouard Mendy will return in goal but Mateo Kovacic is out and will miss Champions League Semi Final first leg
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West Ham vs Chelsea
The game of the weekend is set to take place tomorrow evening when West Ham host London rivals in a Champions League shoot-out.
With the clubs both sitting on 55 points, with Chelsea ahead on goal difference, the winner of the game will put themselves in a strong position to finish the season in the top four.
Chelsea have only taken 1 point from their last two games, home to West Brom and Brighton, and will be looking to find their Premier League form again this weekend.
It is fair to say that there were extenuating circumstances around their midweek game with Brighton, what with the fan demonstrations against the Super League outside Stamford Bridge, but they will have to be on their game against their London rivals.
As with all of today’s press conferences, there were questions from the off on on the Super League.
Tuchel said that there is no need for anyone to apologise to him regarding the Super League.
“Yes it has been distracting, but it’s the owner’s club, it’s not my club.”
“I’m part of the club, but it’s the owner and the club’s decision, and now they change that decision.”
“There’s no need to apologise to me directly, my job is to adapt to the circumstances. And were we distracted? Yeah clearly.”
“Me personally I arrived in a state of mind on Tuesday at the stadium that was clearly not the mindset that I normally arrive in, for a match. But that’s already in the past, and like I said, I don’t think they need to apologise to me.”
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 15: Mateo Kovacic of Chelsea runs with the ball past Joe Willock of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on February 15, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
As the questions turned to the team for the trip to West Ham, Tuchel revealed that Mendy will return in goal.
“Mendy will be in goal. The change was made for Kepa in the home game and before then me and the goalkeeper coach decided Kepa should stay one more game to have it as a reward, to get a bit of rhythm.”
“What he’s doing in training and the dressing room is simply outstanding in terms of personality. I’m happy he showed it on the pitch. He had two clean sheets in two matches so it’s a good feeling we have two goalkeepers. Edou will be in goal tomorrow.”
On the rest of the squad, he confirmed that only Kovacic is out.
“I expect from them that they fight in a sporting way to be in the top four. They have had an extraordinary season. The team news is there is no news. Mateo is still out, everyone else is ok.”
When asked when he will return he said;
“Me, personally, I think we can hope for Fulham. But don’t take that for granted. Maybe the physios and doctors will kill me for that. So maybe Fulham, which is between the Madrid games.”
“Tomorrow is a game, then we have two days to prepare for Real Madrid in the semi-final of the Champions League. Without training, that won’t happy. So Fulham is the target.”