Thomas Tuchel issues Cesar Azpilicueta & Romelu Lukaku fitness updates

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Chelsea have a huge game against Real Madrid to come
Chelsea have a huge game against Real Madrid to come / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages

Thomas Tuchel has issued updates on the fitness of Romelu Lukaku and Cesar Azpilicueta, admitting that he is not sure whether the pair will be available for Chelsea's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Real Madrid.

The Blues responded well to successive defeats against Brentford and Real on Saturday, romping to a 6-0 victory over Southampton at St Mary's.

The result was achieved without Azpilicueta, who missed the game after testing positive for Covid-19, while Lukaku was also absent with a knock.

Speaking at full-time, Tuchel admitted he was uncertain about whether the duo would return in time for his side's trip to the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

"He [Lukaku] wasn’t in training yesterday, he was in too much pain," he said

"There is not a lot of time, we have only two training sessions, and we leave the country on Monday. We need to wait, I have no answer right now."

Attempting to explain Chelsea's turnaround after several poor displays, Tuchel suggested his players' commitment levels had not been up to standard recently.

"I think it tells us that we are not a team to escape with results if our input is only 80 to 90 per cent of our energy, commitment and investment," he said.

"We are a special group when we have the priorities right - if we are committed, if we defend with courage, if we have the hunger and attitude right in challenges. This is our foundation to then show the quality and that we are a strong group and this is a special group of players.

"There are some reasons why it's not always easy for us to have this hunger and the commitment and the physical input, because we come from an awful lot of matches.

"That's why it's not always easy, but this is the reality, we need it, and it’s not about blaming the players. I can understand there a lot of reasons why it was hard for us after the international break. It just proves the point again today that if we have this right we show our quality."

For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter