Chelsea FC

Thomas Tuchel confirms Thiago Silva will miss Chelsea's clash with Atletico Madrid

Robbie Copeland
Feb 22, 2021, 4:25 PM GMT
Silva is out for the Champions League tie
Silva is out for the Champions League tie | Pool/Getty Images

Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Thiago Silva will not return in time to face Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, as the defender continues to struggle with a thigh problem.

The 36-year-old has been a key player for Chelsea since his arrival on a free transfer in the summer, particularly so since Tuchel took the reins in January.

The two worked together at Paris Saint-Germain previously and have rekindled their working relationship at Stamford Bridge, with Silva playing every Premier League minute under the German until he went off injured against Tottenham earlier this month.

He has since missed wins over Sheffield United and Newcastle as well as Saturday's draw with Southampton, but there had been hope that, with a key Champions League tie on the horizon, he would be fit to return.

Speaking in his press conference ahead of the trip to Budapest however, Tuchel confirmed the match would come too soon for Silva.

Who will start in his place remains to be seen. Should Tuchel stick with the back three that has served him well in recent weeks, it seems likely that Cesar Azpilcueta and Antonio Rudiger will retain their spots, with Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen fighting it out for the remaining place.

Zouma came into the team against Southampton at the weekend but Christensen started the previous two matches, and was Tuchel's choice to replace Silva against Spurs after he was forced off.

While it was bad news for Silva, the outlook was better as far as Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic are concerned. The manager revealed that the attacking duo are in line for returns to action after short spells on the sidelines.

Tuchel was also asked to elaborate on Thiago Silva's claims that there is 'less pressure' on Chelsea to succeed in the Champions League than there was at PSG. Chelsea of course won the trophy as recently as 2012, while PSG have never got their hands on a European Cup.

Tuchel said: "I understand why Thiago feels like this. As a coach I've never felt like this. In Paris, a lot of judgement is made of players in Champions League. Everyone expects you to win the league and cup competitions, so I understand why Thiago says that.

"As a coach, you know it takes a certain level to win competitions. So me, I felt it a big challenge to become champion every year in France and to arrive in cup finals. You feel it every day what is needed to have this mentality.

"From the outside, I understand why he feels like this. The Premier League for Chelsea is a much bigger value to Ligue 1 for Paris Saint-Germain."