Thomas Tuchel says forgotten Chelsea start has ‘huge opportunity’ to make his mark

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea squad has been depleted by an outbreak of Covid

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea squad has been depleted by an outbreak of Covid (Picture: Chelsea FC)

Thomas Tuchel insists forgotten Chelsea star Kenedy has been provided with a ‘huge’ opportunity to make a mark in the first team following the decision to recall the Brazilian from his loan spell at Flamengo.

An outbreak of Covid, allied to a series of injuries, has left Tuchel with little option but to consider bringing back a number of players who had previously been deemed surplus to requirements.

With Ben Chilwell set to miss the rest of the season following a cruciate knee ligament injury, Tuchel’s options have been particularly limited at left-back, with Marcos Alonso, 31, his only conventional option.

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Ben Chilwell and Reece James have both suffered long-term injuries (Picture: Getty)

The likes of Christian Pulisic and Saul Niguez have been touted as makeshift options with Chelsea frustrated so far in their attempts to bring Emerson Palmieri back from his loan spell at Lyon.

Kenedy’s return, however, represents a welcome boost and Tuchel hinted he is ready to include the 25-year-old as a major part of his plans for the rest of the season.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s must-win Premier League game against Manchester City, the German said: ‘Kenedy is back and I am very happy about it. It’s a huge opportunity for him to make his mark at this club and this team. We will try now, from today on, to push and support him.

Kenedy hasn’t made a Premier League appearance for Chelsea since 2017 (Picture: Getty)

You cannot say that Kenedy is the solution, he can be a solution. But the situation has not changed, we have long-term injuries with wing-backs, we’ve suffered a lot in midfield with Covid and injuries.

‘Now our midfielders are more or less coming back we suffer a lot with our central defenders.’

Kenedy, himself, admitted Tuchel’s decision was totally unexpected but he had little option but to return to west London ahead of potentially making his first Premier League appearance for Chelsea since 2017.

Speaking at Rio de Janeiro airport, Kenedy said: ‘I was taken by surprise. I found out yesterday night around 11pm. Everything was very fast.

‘Chelsea had a contract with Flamengo. They asked me to present myself and I’m presenting myself.

‘It was Flamengo that told me. I’m just fulfilling the contract..’


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