Thomas Tuchel believes Fikayo Tomori has “high potential” but admits he has not had time to think about the defender’s future since becoming Chelsea head coach.
Tomori, who came through the Chelsea academy, left the club to join AC Milan on loan just days before Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in the Stamford Bridge dugout.
The Serie A club have the option to buy Tomori for £26.6m as part of his loan deal, but the arrival of a new head coach at Chelsea has opened the possibility of a fresh start for the 23-year-old at his boyhood club.
Tomori told Sky Sports News this week that he is yet to speak to Tuchel and, while he is not top of the German’s priorities, the England international did receive positive words from the Chelsea boss.
Tuchel said: “To be very honest, I did not spend too many minutes thinking about Tomori – not because I don’t like him and don’t see his potential, but there was simply no time.
“It’s tradition in Chelsea that many players are on loan and get minutes somewhere else when they cannot make regular minutes here. This is good because it’s always the target to have players who can make it in different circumstances, who can show their qualities in different cultures and clubs.
“We will have this talk in the next weeks and months about all the guys who are on loan. But of course, I have a general impression of Tomori, which is that he has high, high potential, but I’m not into details right now. The time will come for that.”
Tuchel: Ziyech must be ready
Tuchel has made an impressive start since replacing Lampard last month, winning five of his six games in charge and taking Chelsea back into the top four of the Premier League.
The Blues’ recent success has largely been achieved without Hakim Ziyech, who has only started once in the league since Tuchel arrived.
The Morocco international has struggled to hold down a regular place in the Chelsea side during his first season and has only been able to show glimpses of the talent that helped Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals just two years ago.
But Tuchel says Ziyech is not to blame for his absence from the team, saying: “It’s my fault, actually. It’s not his fault.
“It’s my decisions. It’s the same for some other players – there were some hard decisions to make. This is a good thing – it means we have quality.
“There are some decisions for other players that means Hakim suffers a little bit. I can absolutely understand and agree with that, so it’s my responsibility and my fault that he cannot show more of his potential. But when I look at the schedule we can be sure that we need all of our players.
“No matter how hard times are for you personally, I cannot say one bad thing for Hakim. He’s working hard and he needs to show that he’s ready because when the moment comes – I cannot tell you when the moment comes – but we expect the best Hakim Ziyech.
“This is not easy, I can admit, but this is how it sometimes is in a club like Chelsea with a squad that keeps winning. Sometimes you have to wait. Things will turn around if he takes care that he is in shape, in the right mood and ready when he’s needed.”
Tuchel unconcerned despite new Pulisic injury
Chelsea will be looking to extend their winning run to six matches in all competitions when they take on Southampton on Saturday lunchtime and, while Tuchel expects to have Tammy Abraham and Kai Havertz fit for the trip to St Mary’s, he will be without Thiago Silva and possibly Christian Pulisic.
The American winger has been troubled by injuries since arriving from Borussia Dortmund – where he worked under Tuchel – in 2019, and the head coach revealed he suffered a potential calf injury in training this week.
But Tuchel says he is unconcerned about Pulisic’s chequered fitness record, and played down reports the 22-year-old could leave Chelsea in the summer.
Asked if he wanted to keep Pulisic, Tuchel said: “Yes. Today is a clear yes, but it’s not only my point of view. We have to see, but for me a clear yes because Chelsea bought Christian for a reason – for his quality, for his potential – and it’s our job to bring out the best in him.
“He proved he has the level to be a Chelsea regular and have a big impact in this club. It’s the challenge now to improve and maintain the level.
“We are not concerned, the medical department is on that. The main thing for Christian is to stay positive, keep the head up and be ready, because he can have a big impact.
“There are absolutely no decisions made for summer – there’s simply no time for that in the moment and today there is no need.”