Thomas Tuchel wants his ‘big gift’ to keep on giving

Nick Purewal, PA

Thomas Tuchel has insisted he can keep all of his four defensive midfielders happy amid intense competition for places at Chelsea.

Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic have emerged as new Blues boss Tuchel’s preferred “double-six” pairing at the base of midfield.

N’Golo Kante will press that duo hard though, as he fights for full sharpness after hamstring trouble, while Scotland Under-21 star Billy Gilmour needs matches to push his case for selection for the Euros.

Chelsea v Sheffield United – Premier League – Stamford Bridge
N’Golo Kante, left, and Jorginho, right, are two big-name players Thomas Tuchel must work hard to keep happy at Chelsea (Mike Hewitt/PA)

Both Italy midfielder Jorginho and France World Cup-winner Kante are regularly linked with moves away from Stamford Bridge, but Tuchel is adamant he wants to keep all his deep midfielders.

“To start with I think that three is by far not too much for two positions,” said Tuchel.

“That means everybody is on board and available if we have difficult decisions to make then it is good, we have difficult decisions to make.

“It is my job to manage them and it is my job to trust also the guys from the bench.

“It is impossible to achieve our goals with only 12 or 13 players, it is simply not possible.

“So to have three guys, it is a big gift for me. And to have a fourth guy like Billy Gilmour is absolutely necessary at this kind of level.

“We need exactly this kind of quality and I am not worried about the management.

“I feel the bond between the payers. Yes, we have to improve when things become difficult or complicated, and we have to prove we are a strong group.

“Today I feel a good atmosphere and I can focus on that to create a special bond between the players.”

Chelsea will host Newcastle on Monday night with the opportunity to climb back into the Premier League’s top four following Liverpool’s 3-1 loss at Leicester.

The Blues ground past Barnsley 1-0 at Oakwell on Thursday to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals, but while they failed to convince on the road their new boss remains unfazed.

“We will allow ourselves to be honest if we don’t like the performance, and if we can do things we will show them,” said Tuchel.

“There are things to do better, we will focus on the details, but in general I don’t want to be too harsh, and I still stick to that plan.”

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