Thomas Tuchel said he would be furious if rivals have been taking advantage of Covid-19 postponement rules to cover injuries.
It was put to Tuchel that Sunday’s North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham could be postponed with Mikel Arteta claiming to have just 12 fit outfield players in the first team.
Asked if teams are covering for injuries rather than Covid cases, Tuchel said: ‘I strongly, strongly hope that is not the case because I would be very angry.
‘We are doing everything to make games happen and we were made to play when we thought we maybe should not.
‘So I can only strongly hope the rules are the same for everybody.’
Thomas Tuchel produced an impassioned plea for clarity over postponement rules right now
After Arsenal’s trip to Liverpool, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta suggested they may need to have Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham postponed due to a lack of players available
The Blues are without No 1 goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who is at the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, and have been mired in a Covid crisis in the last four weeks.
Speaking after a 0-0 draw with Liverpool in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, Arteta said when asked about a potential postponement.
‘[Postponement] is a possibility in every game, from our side and the opponents’ side with the issues everyone is having, and it is happening every week. But we try to prepare the game thinking we will play.’
The Chelsea boss has previously called for more transparency from the league on the decision making process, with Burnley against Leicester the 20th top-flight match to be shelved this season.
Chelsea, who have lost defender Andreas Christensen to a positive Covid test on the eve of Saturday’s trip to Man City, had asked the league to postpone their game against Wolves last month following seven Covid cases, only for that request to be denied.
Leicester’s trip to Burnley became the 20th Premier League game this season to be postponed
Tuchel’s squad has been ravaged with positive Covid tests in the last month with Mateo Kovacic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner all having to isolate in recent weeks.
The Blues had only just managed a clean coronavirus slate for Wednesday’s 1-0 Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg win at Tottenham.
Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante returned after isolation to take a seat on the bench in north London in midweek, but Chelsea only lasted two days without any Covid absentees.
Chelsea boss Tuchel lamented the uncertainty of Covid-19 testing as akin to ‘catching fish’, with a raft of players still finding their feet after absences and others now missing again.
‘To have the news that Andreas Christensen is again out after we waited so long for him, and now he plays so, so strong, and again he’s out,’ Tuchel said.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has now seen three successive league games postponed
‘It’s a bit of a setback for everybody, for us mentally. We need to over-perform to catch City and be on top of the Premier League. And to over-perform we need simply everybody.
‘It is Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante, but it’s Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante with one training session.
‘We need a bit more of a fight to bring out the extra edge. This is what we’re missing, not in a bad way, but it’s not enough. You finally have players back, and it’s just like catching fish.’
More to follow.