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Tuchel reveals why Chelsea pulled out Morocco’s Afcon-bound Ziyech in Wolves draw

08:15 IST 20/12/2021
Hakim Ziyech Chelsea 02112021
The former Borussia Dortmund coach explains the reason to substitute the 28-year-old winger during the game at Molineux

Morocco have received a boost after Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel confirmed the injury suffered by winger Hakim Ziyech during their 0-0 Premier League draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers is not bad.

The 28-year-old was making his 10th appearance for the Blues this season at Molineux, but he could not help them as they lost ground in the race to win the title with a draw.

Ziyech was handed a start alongside another African – Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy – despite Tuchel confirming seven of his players were out after contracting Covid.

However, the winger was pulled out in the 65th minute for Mateo Kovacic in what looked like a hamstring injury but the former Borussia Dortmund manager has shed light on why he was forced to make the change.

“We can survive the game but at some point, we will pay the price, for sure. Maybe we already have with all our midfielders. Trevoh hopefully it’s just painful. At the moment it’s very painful. We still hope it’s not serious, but we need to wait for further examination,” Tuchel told the club’s official website

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“Hakim [Ziyech] I don’t think it’s bad. He got hit on the nerve on his calf, and it was tight so we had to take him off.”

A fuming Tuchel continued: “I understand when they say we still have 14 players, but if you look in detail a bit more at who the 14 players are, you see Trevoh Chalobah with two training sessions, Mateo Kovacic with one training session, N’Golo Kante with one training session.

“We were putting a huge risk on the players physically and because of Covid.

“I cannot and will not comment on any other decision made from other games being postponed or not postponed. We never compared ourselves to any other situation, we were just worried about the safety of players.

“The players were concerned about their health because we had several positive Covid tests in consecutive days.”

Out of his 10 appearances, Ziyech, who in January will head to the Africa Cup of Nations with Morocco, has only scored one goal this season, and it came in the 2-1 win against Watford at Vicarage Road.

Morocco have been drawn in Group C of the competition set to kick off on January 9 to February 6 alongside Ghana, Gabon, and Comoros and they will open their campaign with a game against the Black Stars at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on January 10.