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Thomas Tuchel ‘starts from scratch’ ahead of Brentford Carabao Cup clash as another Chelsea player tests positive for COVID to account for absentees sidelined for illness at EIGHT


Thomas Tuchel’s plans to field a squad dominated by academy stars have suffered another heavy blow with Lewis Baker, the latest Chelsea player to test positive for COVID-19.

The Blues have a trip to their also repaired West London rivals Brentford in the Carabao Cup and Tuchel admits he will now have to “start from scratch” after Baker becomes the eighth player to contract the disease.

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Tuchel endures some tough games as Chelsea boss

Tuchel admitted that Chelsea’s forced selection plans “would go against our nature” for the League Cup quarter-final meeting.

“We had planned a team now and we had plans with Lewis Baker from the academy and now he’s testing positive,” Tuchel said.

“So now we can start from scratch, and that’s what we’re doing right now. We postponed training until the end of the afternoon. Right now we are going to prepare the match to be played.

“But even planning practice is pretty exciting because until the very last hour you don’t know how many players will be arriving.

Thomas Tuchel ‘starts from scratch’ ahead of Brentford Carabao Cup clash as another Chelsea player tests positive for COVID to account for absentees sidelined for illness at EIGHT

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Baker was supposed to start against Brentford but he’s now ruled out with COVID-19

“Right now, every day, we do lateral flow testing and PCR testing, and only then are you allowed to be in the building.

“So this is the first lottery: you go to work and you don’t know if you can get to your office.

“Which is good, because then it is safe, at least for this day.” And the next day you are tested again.

“But if you test that much, you always find the risk of another positive result. And that can really make things worse than they already are.

Chelsea will again be deprived of the group of players who missed Sunday’s Premier League goalless draw against Wolves due to coronavirus isolation.

Thomas Tuchel ‘starts from scratch’ ahead of Brentford Carabao Cup clash as another Chelsea player tests positive for COVID to account for absentees sidelined for illness at EIGHT

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Chelsea is stuttering right now

A frustrated Tuchel lamented having to rest N’Golo Kante due to his recent knee problem, with Trevoh Chalobah and Andreas Christensen still having their injuries.

Jorginho will return after testing negative for COVID after inconclusive previous results, which will make Tuchel’s midfielder options easier.

But Kai Havertz, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell will be missing again.

Chelsea were “deeply disappointed” to see their request to postpone Sunday’s game against Wolves rejected, but since then the Premier League has chosen not to suspend the schedule.

While Tuchel understands the decision to go ahead, he also lamented having to enter the quarterfinals with a severely exhausted squad.

“We fight for every competition and I absolutely don’t like to judge the importance of games because you can never say what it does to you,” Tuchel said.

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“And there is nothing more important than winning, playing together, performing well and fighting together.

“It’s totally against our nature, but maybe we have to do it, and it makes me sad because it’s not sport and it’s not who we all are.

“But it can happen tomorrow that we prioritize health, not the game against Aston Villa, but the health of the players, and that we take no risks for some of our players.

“What we did with N’Golo Kante at Wolves was almost irresponsible. Now will he be involved in the squad against Brentford? No, just no.

“Would it be possible if it was the last game of the season? Yes, but we can’t do it. I’m not going to do it. “We will now give him time to recover and prepare for the Aston Villa game.

“This is the situation. Having 13 or 14 players for a game is a problem, but it’s not the big problem. We will fight through thick and thin, that’s what we will do tomorrow.

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