Christian Pulisic included in Chelsea squad for Malmo clash

Christian Pulisic is close to returning for Chelsea
Christian Pulisic is close to returning for Chelsea / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Christian Pulisic has travelled with the Chelsea squad for Tuesday's Champions League tie with Malmo.

Pulisic hasn't featured for Chelsea since the opening game of the season, after which he contracted COVID-19 and picked up an ankle injury which has seen the winger miss Chelsea's last 12 games in all competitions.

He returned to training last week, with the upcoming Premier League tie with Burnley touted as a possible return date for Pulisic, but Tuchel has now confirmed that the 23-year-old could be back a few days earlier.

"The good news is that Christian Pulisic is back in the squad and in contention for tomorrow," he told a press conference.

Unfortunately, Pulisic won't be joined by midfielder Mason Mount, who missed the weekend's 3-0 win over Newcastle through illness and is yet to return to training.

"To stop any speculation, it is not COVID, Mason is negative for COVID," Tuchel confirmed. "He is just ill, he does not feel good enough to take part in training or the trip to Malmo."

Elsewhere, there are no surprises for Tuchel to contend with. Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku both remain sidelined, while midfielder Mateo Kovacic is also out with the hamstring injury that kept him out of the trip to St James' Park.

Chelsea head into Tuesday's game second in Group H, trailing leaders Juventus by three points as a result of their defeat in Turin earlier in the season.

The Blues saw off Malmo just a few weeks ago, soaring to a 4-0 victory at Stamford Bridge thanks to goals from Andreas Christensen, Kai Havertz and a couple of Jorginho penalties, and they'll be expecting a similar scoreline this time around.

“We had it now quite often, the fifth or sixth game in a row where we are considered favourites," Tuchel continued. "We put in a lot of effort, a lot of intensity. We don’t give too much on the genuine view that we are favourites but we prove it on the pitch, that is absolutely necessary tomorrow.

"When you say, very right, Malmo needs extraordinary performance. I think they will prepare for this. Any team on this kind of level is ready to create and extraordinary performance. We should be prepared, be humble and respectful enough towards the game and opponent. Anything can happen. These matches on Champions League level have nothing to lose.

"Malmo can play with a lot of freedom, a lot of courage. They will be supported by an emotional crowd. This is the things we have to face. It is not the first time. We will try to have influence on our team that we approach the games in the same way like last weeks.”