Thomas Tuchel plays down fears over Tammy Abraham’s fitness ahead of Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid after Chelsea striker limped out of Southampton draw with ankle knock – as boss says half-time switch was ‘not from an injury’ but tactical
- Tammy Abraham limped out of Chelsea’s 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday
- The striker was seen with an ice pack on his ankle during the second-half
- Abraham was hauled off after 20 minutes in Chelsea’s last game with Newcastle
- The Blues take on Atletico Madrid in the Champions League next week
Thomas Tuchel has played down injury concerns over Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham’s fitness after he limped out of Saturday’s Premier League draw at Southampton.
The striker was taken off by Chelsea boss at the half-time interval and replaced with winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, with the Blues losing 1-0 to the south coast club at the time.
Abraham was pictured sitting in the St Mary’s stands with an ice pack on his ankle and there were fears the 23-year-old could miss Tuesday night’s trip to Atletico Madrid.
Chelsea were handed fresh injury fears as Tammy Abraham (right) limped off at Southampton
Abraham was pictured with an ice pack on his ankle during the second-half at St Mary’s
But Tuchel played down concerns over Abraham’s fitness after the match and insisted the half-time switch was tactical.
Speaking about Abraham’s fitness, Tuchel told BT Sport: ‘(The substitution was) not from injury. It was hard for him to show his quality and we weren’t happy with last 20 metres and he could not put his stamp on this game so we changed the formation.’
The striker limped out after 20 minutes during last Monday’s league win after Newcastle but was a surprise starter at Southampton despite the setback.
The Blues number nine is Chelsea’s top scorer in all competitions this season with 12 to his name, two ahead of £47.5million summer signing Timo Werner and fellow Stamford Bridge striker rival Olivier Giroud.
Abraham was taken off prematurely in Chelsea’s last Premier League game with Newcastle
However the forward has now gone six Premier League games without a goal and scored just once in five Champions League group stage appearances earlier in the season.
Both Werner and Giroud will now compete for a starting spot up front against Diego Simeone’s LaLiga leaders, though both score against Newcastle earlier this week.
Chelsea already have attacker Kai Havertz out injured with the German missing Saturday’s league match at Southampton.
Thomas Tuchel’s side have a busy schedule and travel to Atletico Madrid next week
Defender Thiago Silva has also been sidelined with fitness problems but both him and Havertz have a chance of making Tuesday night’s European tie.
The Blues fell behind at St Mary’s through Takumi Minamino’s cool run and finish but Mason Mount’s penalty hauled the Blues level after the break.
The result was a blow to Tuchel’s side and their top-four hopes as they remain in fourth but both West Ham and Liverpool can overtake them this weekend with victories over Tottenham and Everton respectively.
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