'Had his chance': Tuchel gives worrying verdict on £15m Chelsea man after Tottenham draw
Thomas Tuchel delivered a possibly damning judgment on Ross Barkley after he failed to feature for Chelsea at home to Tottenham Hotspur last night.
Speaking in his post-match press conference following the 2-2 draw yesterday, Tuchel had to face questions about Barkley’s omission.
The 27-year-old did not travel with his colleagues to Stamford Bridge on Monday.
He had played in both the previous fixtures, away to Bournemouth and Arsenal.
But Barkley and several other first-team hopefuls missed out on the opportunity to impress the full-capacity Blues home crowd.
With the competitive season edging ever closer, Tuchel must now start to trim down his squad and let loose some of the spare parts.
Monday’s capital city clash was potentially an indication of who has made the cut and who will be axed.
For Barkley, his chances of breaking back into Chelsea’s set-up are extremely slim.
And Tuchel’s latest statement on the £15m (BBC) signing from Everton didn’t suggest those odds had changed.
“Ross had his chance to play one half against Arsenal, the same as Danny Drinkwater,” said the Blues boss.
“We had the impression that Ruben (Loftus-Cheek) deserves to be on the pitch today again and we wanted to give (Tiemoue) Bakayoko the chance to play for the first time under us.
“Maybe it’s unfair to judge them because we don’t know them very well but at least everybody has had the chance to show up in a game. So, it was a matter of selection.
“We played some friendlies against Bournemouth and Peterborough with Ross and Danny so we had a clear picture of those guys.
“We wanted to see Baka on the field to see what he is capable of.”
Race for the finish line
Midfield is now a very congested area for Chelsea, with a maximum of two extra slots available.
Thanks to the loan moves of Billy Gilmour and Conor Gallagher, Tuchel will likely need these spaces filling.
Loftus-Cheek looks in a strong position to hold down his station.
This leaves Barkley, Bakayoko, Drinkwater, and even Ethan Ampadu in a straight shoot-out for the final chairs at the table.