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Tuchel ‘anger’ as he explains decision to rest Chelsea stars at Zenit


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homas Tuchel insists there is no panic over Chelsea’s form – but he is set to prioritise Saturday’s Premier League clash with Leeds over tonight’s Champions League tie against Zenit St Petersburg.

The German admitted he was angered after watching his side drop five points from their last three games, which has seen them tumble from first to third in the table.

While he is convinced it is only a temporary dip – he has made it clear that the title race is his immediate concern, despite needing to win in Russia tonight to be sure of topping Group H and avoiding potential showdowns with Bayern Munich or Real Madrid in the round of 16.

Tuchel suggested he will make changes to ensure his injury-hit squad is fresh enough to face Leeds.

He said: “The problem is the next match on Saturday. We will lose time to sleep, we will arrive back in the very early morning of Thursday. And on Saturday we will face a very intense team of Leeds, who have prepared the whole week for this match.

“So long story, short message, there’s a huge chance that we rest some players and maybe more importantly we give some players the load who need the load, the minutes and rhythm, to put it another way.”

Chelsea’s form has plummeted since a 4-0 win against Juventus last month put them in control of the group.

Since then they drew against Manchester United, narrowly beat relegation-threatened Watford and suffered a shock defeat to West Ham.

Tuchel has also seen his injuries mount, with Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic all sidelined.

Kovacic returned to training this week following a hamstring injury but has been ruled out again after testing positive for Covid-19.

Tuchel revealed his frustrations after seeing Manchester City and Liverpool overtake his side at the top of the table – but is adamant he will turn their form around.


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