Thomas Tuchel explains picking Marc Cucurella over Ben Chilwell for Chelsea vs Tottenham | Football

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Marc Cucurella starts for Chelsea for the first time on Sunday at Stamford Bridge (Picture: Getty Images)

Thomas Tuchel believes Marc Cucurella is more ready for the ‘rhythm and intensity’ of Premier League matches than Ben Chilwell, as he picks the Spaniard over the Englishman for Chelsea’s clash with Tottenham.

Cucurella arrived from Brighton this summer to compete with Chilwell for the left wing-back slot and after coming off the bench for his debut at Everton last week, he is into the starting XI at home against Spurs this weekend.

Chilwell will be disappointed to have lost his spot in the team already, but Tuchel suggests it is something of a fitness issue for the England international, despite him starting at Goodison Park in the last match.

The former Leicester man missed a lot of last season with a serious knee injury and Tuchel believes it is still holding him back, certainly in comparison to Cucurella, who impressed all last season with Brighton.

‘He is a very intelligent player, he does good choices, very safe on the ball and playing through the lines, very calm,’ Tuchel told Sky Sports of his new signing.

‘I have a feeling that he has a bit more feeling for the rhythm and intensity of matches than Ben at the moment

‘We keep Ben Chilwell for substitutions because he is a high-speed runner, an intense runner.

‘But after his long injury I think he lacks a little bit of rhythm and feeling for the matches. That’s why we go for Cucu today.’

Cucurella will be on the opposite side of the pitch to Ruben Loftus-Cheek at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with the midfielder filling in at right wing-back, while Reece James joins Thiago Silva and Kalidou Koulibaly in a three-man central defence.

Considering Chelsea beat Spurs four times last season, each time playing with a back four, the switch is something of a surprise, but Tuchel explains that he feels he has to have more cover.

Everton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has featured in the first two games of the season for Chelsea (Picture: Getty Images)

‘We go for the back three to match the speed of Heung-min Son and Ruben played wing-back in pre-season and in many matches in the last couple of matches last season, so that’s what it is,’ said the German.

‘I think you need five to defend the aggressive wing-backs of Tottenham.’


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