'Yes': Tuchel says Chelsea star 'deserved' to start FA Cup final but he just couldn't risk him

Thomas Tuchel explained that Christian Pulisic didn’t start in the FA Cup final because he wanted him fit for the next three matches.

Speaking to club website, Tuchel was detailing how important squad rotation was towards the tail end of the season.

He made several changes for the trip to Wembley from the previous Premier League defeat against Arsenal, which included dropping Pulisic to the bench.

The American made a 20-minute cameo in the cup final, but couldn’t help Chelsea overcome Leicester.

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

A trio of huge fixtures now awaits the Blues, beginning with another fight versus the Foxes this evening.

Tuchel needs Pulisic

Tuchel clarified he would rather Pulisic be functioning for this important run than lose him in last Saturday’s cup showdown.  

“For example would Christian Pulisic have deserved to play in the FA Cup final?”, said the Chelsea manager.

“Yes, of course, and it was not a good feeling to not let him start.

“But if he was in a risk of maybe re-injury and then he would be out for the next three matches, that would be the bigger regret for me.”

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Treatment table trauma

Pulisic has quite a poor record of injuries since he signed for Chelsea back in 2019.

A large chunk of his debut campaign was torn away thanks to an abductor muscle injury.

This season started off in similar painful fashion, as the 22-year-old overcome a hamstring issue.

Thankfully, Pulisic appears over his medical woes and free to go forward with his Chelsea career.

Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Big run for the Blues

Aiding the Blues to European qualification is the attacker’s next task.

Plenty is riding on tonight’s clash with Leicester.

Both teams are jostling for a top four spot, well aware of the chasing pack coming in behind them.

Finalised league standings might be decided on the last day.

Chelsea travel to Aston Villa, whilst the Foxes host Tottenham Hotspur.

Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

If all goes according to plan, Tuchel’s men could contest the Champions League final against Manchester City safe in mind they will be in the competition next term.

If all doesn’t go according to plan, the Blues might have to defeat City to ensure their European position.

Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Twitter account here.

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.