Thomas Tuchel regrets not playing Olivier Giroud in Chelsea’s draw with Southampton – which prompted him to start the Frenchman against Atletico Madrid.
Giroud has been in and out of the starting XI under Tuchel and had to settle for a spot on the bench against the Saints on Saturday, despite scoring the decisive goal against Newcastle the previous weekend.
The veteran striker watched on as an unused substitute as the Blues stumbled to a 1-1 in the Premier League clash.
But he returned to the lineup and scored a stunning overhead kick as Chelsea took control of their Champions League last-16 tie with a 1-0 win over Atletico on Thursday.
Tuchel insists he did not rest Giroud ahead of the clash with Atletico – but the Chelsea boss was not about to make the same mistake by leaving him out once again.
Asked whether Giroud was rested against Southampton, Tuchel told reporters: “No, it was not [that].
“We thought long about putting him in and you are right, it was a decision clearly a possibility that he started against Southampton.
Is Giroud’s overhead kick a goal of the season contender? Have your say in the comments.
“But we analysed them so we expected more spaces behind the last line and we wanted more deep runs.
“I was not too happy with my game decisions against Southampton, maybe we missed the possibility to bring him on at the end.”
Tuchel also said he was not surprised to see Giroud convert a marvellous acrobatic effort, as the 34-year-old is still as sharp as ever at the training ground.
It has been a hectic season so far – so make sure you don’t miss a single thing by signing up for the brilliant new Mirror Football newsletter!
All the latest transfer news and big stories will land straight into your inbox. You won’t miss out.
To sign up, put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link.
The Blues boss added: “If you see him on a daily basis you cannot be surprised. He is totally fit, his body is in shape, his physicality is on a top level and mentally I have the feeling he enjoys every day. This is the level he needs to be.
“He trains like a 20 year old, he is a guy who is serious and a mix of joy. He is always positive and a big factor for the group.”
Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.