Chelsea: Tuchel sends Pulisic message amid frustration
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All the while Chelsea are winning and on course for a top-four finish, it’s hard for anybody to question elements of Thomas Tuchel’s Stamford Bridge regime. The German has not been shy to shake things up dramatically with several former Frank Lampard favourites now on the fringes of his starting XI.
His team does seem to change every week but Tuchel appears to be using rotation to his advantage to get results and drive Chelsea up the table.
This week he defused claims that Christian Pulisic is facing an uncertain future at the club, emphasising that he is still assessing and experimenting with all of the players at his disposal.
It’s not the first time he has faced questioning in recent weeks surrounding a player’s future, with a number of other stars also facing a fight to stay in west London.
With that in mind, Express Sport takes a look at the five players on borrowed time in the race to win over Tuchel ahead of this afternoon’s trip to Elland Road…
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As part of a recurring theme, Tuchel said all the right things when explaining his use of Pulisic.
He said: “I can say nothing else but good things about him. Maybe his biggest problem is that I know him from Dortmund and I think he started only in the cup games.
“It is my responsibility and it is a bit unfair but I know what impact he can have in the last 20 or 30 minutes.”
Pulisic is said to be frustrated with his minutes and still found himself on the bench against Everton, despite rotation across the frontline.
The United States international is towards the bottom of the attacking pecking order with Manchester United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich reportedly monitoring the situation.
He was excellent after Project Restart and looked set to become the main man this season. With game time he could still turn things around but for now, things are looking bleak.
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It’s been a frustrating time at Chelsea for Ziyech following his arrival from Ajax for £34million, where Erik ten Hag built the team around him.
His morale seems low and he does not seem to be enjoying his football, even when on the field.
Ziyech is used to having things his own way from his time in Holland and with competition for places fierce, it’s easy to see why there are doubts over his future.
The system is also struggling to accommodate him and the width of the wing-backs is limiting his space on the field.
A change of formation could result in an upturn in fortunes for the Moroccan, who undoubtedly has bags of ability and quality.
Abraham’s future has now been plunged into serious doubt, having been left out of the past few Chelsea match day squads.
The striker has had several runs in the team but failed to nail down his place ahead of Olivier Giroud and Timo Werner.
Now he is hesitant to extend his stay given that he wants to play regularly and could do so elsewhere.
It’s already becoming clear that Tuchel is unconvinced by Abraham and a move could well be on the cards, permitting Giroud stays.
Kepa has made two appearances under Tuchel, keeping consecutive clean sheets against Barnsley and Newcastle.
Yet since then, he hasn’t played a single minute and Tuchel has confirmed that Edouard Mendy remains the No 1.
It has been suggested that the randomly assigned game time was an attempt to drive up his price-tag ahead of the summer transfer window.
But ultimately, Kepa’s performances warranted a longer run in the side and now the writing appears to be on the wall.
Although he played the full 90 minutes against Everton – keeping a clean sheet – Tuchel does not seem to fancy Zouma.
The Frenchman was a regular under Frank Lampard and looked impressive alongside Thiago Silva at the heart of defence.
Yet even with the Brazilian out injured and Fikayo Tomori loaned out to AC Milan, Zouma has not been selected as part of Tuchel’s back-three.
It’s a major body blow for Zouma, who at this stage of his career will be desperate to play regularly.
He is unlikely to be short of suitors should Chelsea be willing to let him leave.
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