‘Reunited!’: Thomas Tuchel embraces his Chelsea stars after touching down in Abu Dhabi just in time for Club World Cup final after the German boss missed semi-final in Covid isolation
- Chelsea face Palmeiras in the Club World Cup final on Saturday in Abu Dhabi
- Thomas Tuchel was absent from the semi-final after a positive Covid test
- He was also stuck on the sofa for the Blues’ FA Cup victory over Plymouth
- Tuchel joined his players and staff the night before the final on Saturday
Thomas Tuchel was welcomed back into the Chelsea fold with applause and hugs on Friday, hours before the Blues’ Club World Cup final showdown with Palmeiras.
The 2020/21 Coach of the Year was overseeing from the couch after testing positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, causing him to miss the FA Cup fourth-round win over Plymouth and the 1-0 victory over Al Hilal that booked Chelsea’s final spot.
The German was hurriedly booked on a flight after returning the critical second negative test and emerging from isolation, rejoining his squad in time for dinner in the Uniter Arab Emirates.
Thomas Tuchel returned to the Chelsea setup on Friday before the Club World Cup final
The German hugged players and staff before speaking to the group after five days in isolation
Chelsea posted a video on social media showing Tuchel entering the Blues’ Abu Dhabi dining room to greet his entourage.
The footage showed Tuchel being applauded as he embraced his beaming coaches, before giving an especially warm welcome to Edouard Mendy as he did the rounds.
The Blues boss will be in place at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday, hoping to add the Club World Cup to Chelsea’s collection – after Frank Lampard, Eden Hazard and Co missed out to Brazilian club Corinthians in 2012.
Petr Cech conceded the only goal of that 1-0 defeat in Japan, and warned Mason Mount that letting the trophy slip was one of his biggest regrets.
Zsolt Low (centre) took charge of the semi-final victory which booked Chelsea’s final place
Low took the Blues’ final training session before the final while Tuchel scrambled for a flight
Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta embraces his manager as the German greets his players
‘That’s definitely a message that has hit hard the last couple of days. You don’t get this opportunity very often and we have to take it,’ the midfielder said.
Technical director Cech stepped-up in Tuchel’s absence to assist the coaching team, with assistant manager Zsolt Low and first team coach Arno Michels taking charge.
Though they managed to bag victories in both matches – with Tuchel sending instructions remotely – Jorginho is delighted to have the boss back.
‘It gives you more because he is your coach, your manager, and is more energy in the changing room. It will be really important for us to be here,’ the World Cup winner said.