Thomas Tuchel says Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is hungry to play for Chelsea and prove a point ahead of his potential debut for the club in the Champions League.
Chelsea signed Aubameyang from Barcelona on deadline day, seven months after he debuted at Arsenal following off-pitch troubles with coach Mikel Arteta.
Aubameyang fractured his jaw during a break-in before completing his move to Stamford Bridge but traveled with Chelsea to Croatia and trained in protective masks ahead of Tuesday’s Group E opener against Dinamo Zagreb.
Tuchel confirmed Aubameyang’s presence. He could make his debut either from the start or off the bench against Dynamo and enjoys watching the 33-year-old prove his point as a bayonet in Chelsea’s attack.
“We had the opportunity to take everyone who was in Zagreb to do our last training here, including Dennis. [Zakaria] And the [Pierre-Emerick] “Aubameyang,” Tuchel said in his pre-match press conference.
“Aubameyang did an audition with his mask, he felt fine, and trained normally, so if all goes well today, they will both be available.”
On Aubameyang, Tuchel continued: “He’s a type of player [to thrive in adversity]He’s very ambitious, he’s very focused, and he’s hungry to play for us and prove a point.
“That’s why he’s here, that’s how we felt from the very first moment and happy to invite him to prove a point tomorrow.”
Asked if Aubameyang had any problems while training with his face mask, Tuchel replied: “If there was a problem we wouldn’t play him, of course, but it wasn’t a problem for him yesterday and I hope there won’t be a release today.
“Is he ready to start? Of course. But he can’t play for 90 minutes, it’s up to us to decide how to manage the minutes. He obviously needs minutes to get his rhythm and his fitness, so we have to find the solution if he comes off the bench or seem “.
Chelsea will miss their defender Thiago Silva in the Champions League opener, with Tuchel confirming the Brazilian has not traveled with the squad to allow him time to recover from his frantic start to the Premier League season.
We decided with Thiago [Silva] “He’s going to get a break from the travel stress and play every minute so far in very intense matches,” Tuchel said.
“It was a good time to give him a break rather than put him on the bench and face travel issues. He will take care of his recovery.”
Chelsea arrived in Zagreb in a good mood after Saturday’s controversial win over London rivals West Ham, followed by signing full-back Rhys James on a new five-year contract to keep him at Stamford Bridge until 2027.
The English international played 128 games for the Blues, scoring 10 goals, after coming from the Premier League club’s academy, and helping Chelsea win the Champions League in 2021.
“He is a very crucial player for us,” Tuchel added. “He is an academy player. We have told you several times how important he is and I think his development is not over yet.
“There is a lot to learn and a lot to come from, but I am happy to have a key player with us for so many years.”
Kovacic supports Aubameyang for success at Chelsea
Mateo Kovacic awarded “qualified scorer” Aubameyang to add vital firepower to Chelsea’s attacking line.
Croatian midfielder Kovacic will be full of pride to face his first and second team on Tuesday, but he will also hope to see Aubameyang flourish in the blue for Chelsea.
“I can say he will be a huge plus for us,” Kovacic said. “He’s a decent striker, a scorer, and we missed that.
“In the past years, we didn’t have a striker with 20 or 25 goals that you need to win the title. So we are looking forward to having him in our squad.
“He’s a certain goalscorer. It’s only natural that he scores goals and I hope he does that here at Chelsea as well.”