Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said he was impressed by Jorginho and N’Golo Kante’s performance in training ahead of Saturday’s clash with Fulham.
The midfield duo have had quite a heavy workload in recent weeks due to Mateo Kovacic’s absence.
Tuesday evening’s first-leg draw with Real Madrid was Jorginho’s seven consecutive start in all competition and Kante’s fourth in the last five games.
Tuchel has not ruled out the possibility that Billy Gilmour could play tomorrow to give either of the Jorginho or Kante a rest, but he was impressed by how the pair performed in training.
“It could be, but it’s not decided yet,’ Tuchel said in his pre-match press conference on Friday about Gilmour’s potential starting against Fulham.
“N’Golo feels very good, Jorgi looked very good in training today, fresh again.
“The guys are super professional, they know we miss Kova a lot.
“I have even the feeling that N’Golo and Jorgi step up [even more] in doing everything to recover as fast as possible.
“They looked very good today in training, I was quite impressed, so the last decision is made today in the evening.
“Billy is in the squad, he was very close to playing some minutes in the last games, and he is in good shape, so he could play.”
Obviously, it is quite complicated. Ideally, Tuchel would like to field his strongest eleven against Fulham. The result might have a big impact on the race for the top four after all.
But if Kovacic, who had an injury setback in training, could not return for Wednesday’s second-leg match against Real Madrid, Tuchel would need Jorginho and Kante to be at their best.
Another option would be to drop Mason Mount into midfield, but it clearly would not help much since the England international might need a rest as well.