LONDON (AFP) – Thomas Tuchel has revealed Chelsea will be deprived of England star Mason Mount for Premier League leaders’ ‘six points’ against champions Manchester City on Saturday (September 25th).
Mount, 22, suffered an unspecified injury in Chelsea’s League Cup match against Aston Villa on Wednesday, which the Blues won on penalties.
The absence of the midfielder is a blow to Chelsea’s hopes of a fourth consecutive victory against Pep Guardiola’s side.
“For Mason Mount, it’s too early. He has a minor injury from the game against Aston Villa. He’s made a big step, huge progress, but it’s not enough to be ready for tomorrow,” said Tuchel Friday.
“It is possible that he could have played if the game had taken place a day later. It is a disappointment for him and for us. Because he is a player we are counting on.” There has been good news for Blues boss Tuchel on the injury front as Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is set to return after a hip problem against Zenit Saint Petersburg last week.
“Mendy is available and will start,” Tuchel said of his first-choice goalkeeper, who has missed Chelsea’s last two games.
Chelsea’s impressive start to the season includes a five-game unbeaten streak in the league, including away wins at Tottenham and Arsenal, as well as a draw against title rivals Liverpool.
But it is City, crowned three times in the past four seasons, who pose the acid test of Chelsea’s attempt to win the title for the first time since 2017.
“The greatest respect”
Chelsea would lead City by six points with a win.
And if he did not want to present the clash of this weekend as an unavoidable confrontation, Tuchel recognized the importance of the meeting.
“It’s a six point between two teams that are clearly rivals for the top four. You don’t have to be shy, to play down,” Tuchel said.
“Any team can steal three points from a direct competitor, so you can call it that.
“But if we win tomorrow we won’t be crowned champions and if City win they won’t be champions and we won’t be in depression.” For Tuchel, the chance to extend his recent master’s over Guardiola is not a motivating factor.
The pair are on good terms after exchanging ideas at dinners together when Tuchel was in charge of Borussia Dortmund during Guardiola’s stint with Bayern Munich.
Tuchel remains a strong admirer of the Spaniard, saying: “It wasn’t that long ago that there were a lot of voices saying I don’t know how to beat Pep.
“We don’t play against each other, it’s not tennis or chess. If I look at the last three games, it was 50-50.
“I have the utmost respect for Pep. I am a huge admirer of the impact he had from his first day as a coach.
“Look at the trophies, look at the influence. There’s absolutely no reason for me to ask if I’m a better coach than him.”