'So strong': Tuchel says 25-year-old has been one of the best players for Chelsea recently, but he won't play tomorrow

Thomas Tuchel shared his disappointment at Andreas Christensen being unavailable for Chelsea to face Manchester City.

Speaking in his press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League showdown at the Etihad, Tuchel confirmed that the defender had tested positive for covid.

Christensen came so close, but so far

Christensen has only been back with the squad for a fleeting period, following repeated absences through injury.

He started in the FA Cup victory over Chesterfield and the Carabao Cup triumph at Tottenham Hotspur mid-week but was replaced around the hour mark in both matches.

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

This was surely a way to minimise any more damages and keep him fresh for tomorrow’s tantalising matchup with City.

However, mother nature is a cruel mistress, striking down the Dane just before arguably the biggest game of the season for Chelsea.

Tuchel talks absentees

Tuchel is now without one key man, which he felt has already put his side at a disadvantage.

“We need to overperform and to overperform you need simply everybody,” said the Blues boss.

“That’s why we of course we wanted to get players back.

“So, if you have the news like yesterday evening that Andreas is again out after we waited so long for him from injury.

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

“Now he plays so, so strong, one of the best players on the pitch and again he’s out, it’s a bit of a knockdown or a bit a set-back for everyone.

“You finally have players back and then it’s like catching a fish.”

Game of tactical chess for Chelsea

With Trevoh Chalobah also out, Tuchel will have to do some tinkering to his back-line.

Malang Sarr has been playing excellently in the last few fixtures, yet City are a different class of blood-thirsty animal.

Cesar Azpilicueta might be asked to drop into the defensive trio, but this would leave the right wing-back slot largely unprotected.

The suggestion Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic or Callum Hudson-Odoi may be asked to fill in will be music to Pep Guardiola’s ears.

Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Cutting City at source

This is just one of the scenarios Tuchel must find a solution for if Chelsea are to send City slightly off course.

Stopping them from scoring is the big one, an achievement only Crystal Palace have managed in the past three months.

Maybe Conor Gallagher has a few tips for the manager!

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.