Thomas Tuchel has confirmed why Romelu Lukaku and Cesar Azpilicueta are missing from Chelsea’s matchday squad to face Southampton on Saturday.
The Blues travel to Saint Mary’s off the back of two horrendous defeats to Brentford in the Premier League and Real Madrid in the Champions League.
So, it was surprising to see the two players not even on the bench for the game against the Saints, but Tuchel explained all prior to kick-off, revealing that striker Lukaku was injured, although he did not clarify what kind of injury it was, while defender and club captain Azpilicueta had tested positive for COVID-19.
As a result, Kai Havertz keeps his place up top while Marcos Alonso comes in at left-back in one of four changes from the defeat to Madrid on Wednesday, but Tuchel gave no clarity as to when the pair would be back
Reece James, Jorginho and Christian Pulisic have also made way, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mateo Kovacic and Timo Werner coming in.
Speaking to Chelsea’s 5th Stand app before the match, Tuchel discussed how he wanted to use today’s game to regain some form: ‘It doesn’t feel good, and we want it to stop. We need to work hard for it, refocus and find our level of performance to deserve the results we want.
‘It came as a shock as we had no signs of weakness before the national break, we were conceding very few chances, and now things are upside down.
‘It’s a bit strange, there isn’t one reason for it, and we are on it to try and make things better. We want to get our compactness back today.’