Pulisic ‘very close’ to return despite ‘setbacks’

Thomas Tuchel says Christian Pulisic has suffered setbacks in his recovery from his latest injury but is “very, very close” to returning to fitness.

The injury-plagued American has been out with an ankle problem and has not featured for Chelsea since the game against Crystal Palace on 14 August – his only Premier League appearance this season.

At a press conference on the eve of his team’s Champions League match against Malmo, Blues boss Tuchel was pressed for more details on Pulisic’s injury and continued absence.

“He got injured during a match with the USA. He hurt his ankle,” Tuchel said.

“There is nothing to worry in terms of us hiding details or not telling you details.

“I cannot give you all the details simply because I am not a doctor.

“He has had some setbacks from pain – not from major injury or complications, simply the pain in the ankle that disturbs him.

“With players with quick movement like Christian, once they feel this pain and are not feeling the movement the recovery is not happening so you start all over again.

“Then you reach a certain point and the pain comes back and you have to do a little pause and start again.”

Pulisic is the only Chelsea player sidelined for the Malmo game, with Antonio Rudiger now fit and available again along with Thiago Silva.

And Tuchel suggested that Pulisic is close to also returning to the squad.

He said: “Right now, we’re very, very close. He was so close to coming back to team training last week and had a little setback and little reaction – nothing serious, but serious pain.

“From there, on we go. He is very impatient and we see him suffer because he really wants to be on the pitch and help us.

“He’s doing his very best but unfortunately the injury takes its time.”