Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel expressed concerns that players could be affected in the months before and after the mid-season World Cup in Qatar, saying that the emotions and demands of soccer‘s showpiece tournament could leave footballers drained.
The Premier League’s 2022-23 season will be paused from Nov. 12 to accommodate the World Cup, which runs from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18, and will resume on Boxing Day.
“It doesn’t make so much sense,” Tuchel told reporters on Friday. “The players are very focused on the World Cup already which is a good thing because they come in shape and take care of themselves.
“But it’s also a bad thing because they are also focused on World Cup and not just here. We will see how it influences the players and their performances in October when it gets closer.
“It will have a huge impact emotionally and physically on the players, they will come back drained. Big success and huge disappointment can also drain them mentally, and then days later we have Boxing Day. I’m a bit uncertain about all this.”
Tuchel was not keen on setting any goals for Chelsea in the new season, saying they were still a club in transition following their takeover, which was led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.
“I don’t want to lower our ambitions. But I don’t want to put the pressure on us,” Tuchel said.
“We are a club in transition still. A team in transition still. But at the same time, I don’t want to limit us from the beginning and say what is possible.”
The German also praised Marc Cucurella’s versatility after his arrival from Brighton & Hove Albion, saying the Spaniard would provide Chelsea options in defence and ease the pressure on Ben Chilwell, who is returning from an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
“Marc will be an option in left back and he can play very well across the back three,” Tuchel said. “His profile is like Cesar Azpilicueta’s, but with a left foot.
“It helps us in depth, and it helps Ben Chilwell escape the pressure of having to deliver.
“Ben is very ambitious. He looks better and better but at the same time, he needs a little bit more time to adapt to the physicality of the match itself.”
Chelsea begin their league campaign at Everton on Saturday.