Tuchel admits taking tactical ‘gamble’ against Newcastle

Thomas Tuchel admitted he took a risk by deploying Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic as wing-backs in the 1-0 win against Newcastle.

The Blues boss was short of options on the flanks, with Reece James, Cesar Azpilicueta, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso out along with Ben Chilwell.

Tuchel started with a back four against the Magpies, who caused Chelsea problems.

But he changed formation, sending Pulisic on in place of Malang Sarr and switching Ziyech’s position.

Chelsea’s late pressure eventually paid off, with Kai Havertz’s fine goal securing the points.

Tuchel said: “The manager had to have some balls to make these decisions!

“We started with a 4-1-4-1. Azpi was out, Reece James was out and Callum played there [at wing-back] and was out.

“Pulisic came from some days off feeling sick so we struggled to find a right wing-back. Marcos struggled through his coronavirus and we were not sure if he could make it, so we started in a 4-1-4-1.

“Malang is good defending but we took the risk on the left side to be more offensive.

“It is not their best position but it is a bit easier for a player like Christian to do it when they come into the match. We took the risk to increase the offensive threat with some runs.

“In the end I am happy because Malang was important for defending set-pieces and it was a bit of a gamble.”

Tuchel also insisted there was no prospect of him walking away from Stamford Bridge.

With the club up for sale and its future unclear, Tuchel recently remarked that Chelsea were managing the crisis “day-by-day” .

That sparked some speculation that he might not see out the season at the Bridge.

However, speaking at his post-match press conference, Tuchel clarified his comments.

He said: “There’s no doubt I’ll stay until the end of the season. Absolutely. We just have to wait and go day-by-day because everything can change.

“As you know the situation is clear – the club’s for sale, and hopefully it will go through to sort things out and give us a perspective. But it’s pure speculation and I have no further information than you already have.

“That’s what I meant with day-by-day, which is anyway a good way to live your life, and now we are forced to do it because there are some circumstances we cannot influence.”