A “very concerned” Thomas Tuchel suggested Chelsea could stop players leaving for international matches this month if they were required to quarantine on their return.
Premier League players travelling with their national teams to ‘red list’ countries – those from which travel to the United Kingdom is currently banned due to coronavirus concerns – are set to be forced to quarantine for 10 days when they return to England.
Managers at top-flight clubs are concerned they could then be without key players in the early part of next month, with the competition resuming from April 3.
On Wednesday, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said it was impractical to allow players to head abroad and then quarantine upon return, while Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said it “didn’t make sense” for his players to travel under those conditions.
Ralph Hasenhuttl branded it “absolute nonsense” as he indicated Southampton players would not be permitted to leave for their national teams, and Tuchel also expects Chelsea to take a firm stance.
Speaking in the wake of his side’s 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield, Tuchel said: “I am absolutely worried because my target is to play Premier League, and if I have players in quarantine, I cannot build the group that we want. This is the risk and I am absolutely worried about this situation.
“But I am also sure that the club knows how to handle it, and if it maybe is the consequence that players cannot go, then this is the consequence.
“The situation is extraordinary, we have to adapt and we will do this as a club. We will take these decisions when the decisions are taken. We are very concerned about the situation.”
18 – Only Manchester City (24) have earned more points than Chelsea (18) since Thomas Tuchel took over eight games ago; Frank Lampard earned only seven points from his final eight games in charge. Spark. pic.twitter.com/59Hdnt5ueb
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 4, 2021
Chelsea’s win, sealed by Mason Mount’s first-half strike, lifted the Blues into fourth place in the table as they made it 18 points won from eight games under their new boss.
On Monday they also face opposition from Merseyside as fifth-placed Everton head to Stamford Bridge.
A run of 10 games in all competitions without defeat, with just two goals conceded in that time, has helped Tuchel overcome early negativity from some fans still unhappy about the way in which Frank Lampard was sacked.
The former Paris Saint-Germain head coach wishes supporters were able to return to Stamford Bridge to enjoy his side’s strong run, with Chelsea now approaching exactly a year of playing games almost exclusively behind closed doors.
“Football is not the same, because we play for the fans, we play at the highest level for entertainment for our fans and for the supporters around the world. It gives you a certain edge, it gives you a certain energy that you cannot have in an empty stadium,” Tuchel said.
“Do we like it? No. Are we grateful that we can still play? Yes, absolutely, we are absolutely aware of that, but at the same time, you cannot compare.
“I cannot wait until our fans are back. It would be a pleasure if they feel the same energy that I feel on the sidelines. I think we can really get the crowd going and I cannot wait until everyone is there because this team has everything to entertain our supporters and hopefully as soon as possible.”