Thomas Tuchel insisted he did not plan to play Callum Hudson-Odoi for 90 minutes in the 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Sunday as the Chelsea manager hailed the winger’s performance following his Covid-19 absence.
Prior to the game, Tuchel already explained that he decided to start Hudson-Odoi because he had the least symptoms among the players who tested positive for Covid-19 at Chelsea.
The 21-year-old did quite well in his favourite left winger position, winning a penalty in the first half before registering an assist in the second half.
While Tuchel was clearly happy with Hudson-Odoi’s display, he is also not happy about his having to force players to play when they are not 100 percent fit.
“We thought Hudson-Odoi can share minutes with [Romelu] Lukaku but [N’Golo] Kante is injured, [Thiago] Silva is injured — we have three changes.
“It backfired on us.
“Hudson-Odoi was outstanding today, one of his very best performances. We were in doubt he can play one half, but he played 90 minutes.”
Hudson-Odoi must be glad to hear the praise from the manager given he is competing with many players for the left winger role at Chelsea.
Kante and Silva’s potential injury absences, however, could be a big blow for the Blues.
Chelsea will face Brighton on Wednesday, 29 December, before hosting Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, 2 January.