Football

Thomas Tuchel provides Callum Hudson-Odoi injury update after Chelsea’s draw with Manchester United


Callum Hudson-Odoi was replaced at half-time as Chelsea drew with Manchester United (Picture: Getty)

Thomas Tuchel confirmed Callum Hudson-Odoi sustained a ‘little injury’ in Chelsea’s goalless draw with Manchester United but revealed the half-time substitution was partly a ‘tactical choice’.

Hudson-Odoi has been a near ever-present in Chelsea’s starting XI since Tuchel over the reins from Frank Lampard last month and the 20-year-old continued his run in the side at right wing-back in Sunday’s stalemate.

He was at the heart of the action in the 14th minute after handling the ball inside Chelsea’s box but referee Stuart Atwell dismissed calls for a penalty after being advised to consult with his pitchside monitor by VAR.

Hudson-Odoi was seen with bandaging around his thigh (Picture: Sky Sports)

However, Reece James came on to replace Hudson-Odoi at the halfway stage and the England international was pictured with strapping around his left thigh as he watched on from the sidelines in the second half at Stamford Bridge.

The youngster made the headlines for all the wrong reasons after being subbed on and subbed off at Southampton last weekend but returned with a strong performance versus Atletico Madrid and had looked lively against United before being forced off.

Asked why Hudson-Odoi was taken off, Tuchel told reporters: ‘[He was] a little bit injured.

‘The reason [he was replaced] was a tactical reason and a little injury, a combination, because we switched to a back-five in defence and covered the wide position from [Marcus] Rashford in between [Cesar] Azpi and Reece James.

‘In the second half, that was not an option to use Callum there and that’s why it was a tactical choice.’

Abraham was left out of Chelsea’s squad (Picture: Getty)

Fellow academy graduate Tammy Abraham was left out Chelsea’s squad altogether and Tuchel admitted the striker was ‘struggling’ to come to terms with his decision when pressed after the game.

Asked why Abraham was omitted, Tuchel told Sky Sports: ‘Selection. We have 21 strong players and only 18 possible in the squad.

‘Hard decisions, it’s my job to make hard decisions. This was the decision and Tammy was not with the group.’

At his post-match press conference, Tuchel added: ‘At the moment he is only struggling with my decision. We have a strong squad. 

‘We have only Thiago Silva injured that means we have to make hard decisions.

‘It was a hard decision. It was about judging the alternatives that we have and we opted for Olivier Giroud to begin, Timo Werner on the bench.

‘We have Kai Havertz who can play as a number nine so there was no need to bring a fourth number nine to the pitch.

‘‘Things are difficult for him. Things are not as easy as they should be for him in the moment and he will get full support. This was the decision.’

Tuchel felt his side were unlucky to be denied victory (Picture: Getty)

The German said he was ‘absolutely happy’ with Chelsea’s performance and felt his team were ‘very close’ to securing all three points.

‘It was a high quality game between two very strong teams,’ he went on.

‘We suffered in the first half but overall it was an even game. In the second half I thought we were really strong.

‘I thought we were closer to winning it, but there was a lot of quality on the pitch. Performance-wise I’m satisfied. We defended very well in the last line and I’m very happy with that.

‘We were not good enough in the first half to attack the spaces. To find the solution was not always easy and we lost a bit of confidence with some easy ball losses.

‘We said at half-time not to worry. We changed to a 5-3-2 to have higher ball recoveries and to regain confidence, and the boys did that very well. We were very close to winning.

‘We take what we got. I’m absolutely happy. Against a team like Man United you don’t get many chances.’

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