Chelsea boost: Pulisic available for UCL return


Christian Pulisic is set to make his first Chelsea appearance since Aug. 14 after manager Thomas Tuchel said the United States international is in the squad for Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Malmo.

Pulisic, 23, has been struggling to recover from an ankle injury sustained while on international duty in a World Cup qualifier against Honduras on Sept. 8, leading Tuchel to claim last month that he was “really suffering” with the enforced absence.

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However, when speaking at a news conference on Monday ahead of Chelsea’s flight to Sweden, Tuchel said Pulisic was available in contrast to Mason Mount (ill), Romelu Lukaku (ankle), Timo Werner and Mateo Kovacic (both hamstring).

“These four players are unfortunately still out but also for Timo, Romelu and Kova it is no surprise,” he said. “For Mason, he doesn’t feel any better but to stop any speculation it is not COVID.

“He is just ill and does not feel good enough to take part in training or take part in the trip to Malmo. The good news is Christian Pulisic is back in the squad for tomorrow.”

Chelsea are second in Group H behind Juventus but beat Malmo 4-0 in the reverse fixture two weeks ago and can take a significant step towards qualification with victory on Tuesday.

Chelsea are defending champions and also top of the Premier League as Tuchel continues to enjoy a remarkable start to life in west London having replaced Frank Lampard as head coach in late January.

It also caps a personal transformation having been sacked by Paris Saint-Germain on Christmas Eve despite steering the Ligue 1 side to the previous season’s Champions League final.

“I am very grateful and I think I am here in this place right now because of my experiences with other clubs before,” he added.

“I am grateful that I learned this job at an academy level, that some people in my career trusted me and gave me confidence, starting with my parents and the bosses in the youth academies and later the managers. So then the target is to get better every day and never stop learning and progressing as a coach.

“Now it seems to be a perfect fit from day one for me, and I am super happy to be part of this club. Maybe this is the last percent. If you feel fully happy and appreciated then everything falls into place very genuinely. And you are able to produce results together as part of a big team.

“I don’t know if I need extra motivation. Obviously I was not happy to be sacked at Christmas, because my mission at PSG was not fulfilled. I had big plans for the Champions League again and to win the domestic title again and again.

“I was hungry to do that and we were on the way. Of course this was a huge interruption and some weeks later came a huge opportunity with Chelsea.

“The desire to step into this venture was much higher than the fear and the concern about the 18-month contract. In football you need to take the adventure, you have to be brave and courageous, and once you have the feeling of bigger involvement, I am happy where I am, I want to be better every single day. It’s a good environment to do this.”

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