Thomas Tuchel says Thiago Silva is unlikely to be fit for the start of Chelsea’s 2021/22 campaign due to the defender returning late for pre-season after representing Brazil at the Copa America.
Despite suffering a groin injury in the Champions League final, Silva was selected for the summer tournament in South America and featured five times for the Selecao on their run to the final.
Brazil, who hosted the competition at late notice, were unable to get their hands on their trophy, however, as Tite’s side were beaten 1-0 by arch-rivals Argentina at the Maracanã.
After the final on July 11 – the same date the European Championship final was played – Silva headed off on his summer break. He is not expected to report back to Chelsea until the start of August and Tuchel believes that will mean a delayed start to the new campaign for the 36-year-old.
“I’m always happy if Thiago goes for a holiday [over the summer] and comes back with us for pre-season because at his age he needs a certain amount of training to play in an intense league like the Premier League,” Chelsea’s head coach said in an interview for the club’s website.
“So now we will have a bit of a delay in his personal season when he comes back late from the Copa. I was a bit sad when they couldn’t win at home against Argentina but I hope it’s not too big a setback.
“He won it last time, was a big part of it again, and, of course, he played a fantastic role in our half a year and hopefully he can conserve the spirit and the quality and the level of fitness.”
Closer to home for Tuchel was Euro 2020, at which 17 Chelsea stars were in action. The German admits he didn’t religiously watch every game but became more invested in the tournament the longer it progressed.
The final at Wembley between England and Italy saw four Chelsea players involved. Mason Mount started for England while Reece James was on the bench. Ben Chilwell didn’t make the squad. For the Azzurri, Jorginho and Emerson both started.
It was the latter duo who ended victorious as Italy overcame the Three Lions via a penalty shootout, during which Jorginho uncharacteristically missed.
However, the midfielder enjoyed a stellar tournament and there have been calls for the 29-year-old to win this year’s Ballon d’Or having been crowned European champion at club and international level.
“Absolutely [Jorginho is a Ballon d’Or candidate], and it’s good that they talk about our players first of all, and that it shifts a little bit and the guys like Jorgi and like N’Golo Kante are in the spotlight, because they are so, so useful and so, so helpful for any team in the world. And we are so lucky to have them.
“Mateo Kovacic is another of that kind, he has the same mentality, the same ability, so we are absolutely happy to have these three midfielders. They’re such a big help to any team in the world.
“Their approach to football is that they are true team players. They are true helpers. They make things easy for the others, they don’t hide from a lot of work, putting in a lot of effort for others.
“This is a fantastic message to football in general, that these guys come to the spotlight. They’re famous for teamwork. This is good, it sends the right message.”
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