Christian Pulisic is set to make his first Chelsea appearance since August 14 after manager Thomas Tuchel said the USA international was in the squad for Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Malmö.
Pulisic, 23, struggles to recover from an ankle injury sustained while on international duty in a World Cup qualifier against Honduras on September 8, which led to Tuchel said last month that he “really suffered” from the forced absence.
– ESPN + Viewers Guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more
– You don’t have ESPN? Access immediately
– Ogden: Nuno gone, the search for the next Tuchel continues
However, at a press conference on Monday ahead of Chelsea’s flight to Sweden, Tuchel said Pulisic was available unlike Mason Mount (ill), Romelu Lukaku (ankle), Timo Werner and Mateo Kovacic (both ischio -legs).
“These four players are unfortunately still absent, but also for Timo, Romelu and Kova, it’s no surprise,” he said. “For Mason, he doesn’t feel better but to stop all speculation, it’s not COVID.
“He’s just sick and not feeling well enough to participate in the training or the trip to Malmö. The good news is that Christian Pulisic is back in the squad for tomorrow.”
Chelsea are second in Group H behind Juventus but beat Malmö 4-0 in the second leg two weeks ago and can take an important step towards qualifying with victory on Tuesday.
Chelsea are defending champions and also at the top of the Premier League as Tuchel continues to have a remarkable start to life in West London after replacing Frank Lampard as head coach at the end of January.
He also crowns a personal transformation after being sacked by Paris Saint-Germain on Christmas Eve despite leading the Ligue 1 side to the Champions League final the previous season.
“I am very grateful and I think I am here in this place right now due to my experiences with other clubs before,” he added.
“I am grateful to have learned this profession at the academy level, that some people in my career have trusted me and given me confidence, starting with my parents and the bosses of the youth academies and later managers So the goal is to get better every day and never stop learning and improving as a coach.
“Now that seems like a perfect fit for me from day one, and I’m very happy to be a part of this club. It might be the last percent. If you feel fully happy and appreciated, then everything comes together in a very authentic way, and you are able to deliver results together as part of a great team.
“I don’t know if I need any extra motivation. Obviously, I was not happy to be sacked at Christmas, because my mission at PSG was not fulfilled. I had big plans for the again. Champions League and win the national title again and again.
“I was hungry to do it and we were on our way. Of course it was a huge hiatus and a few weeks later a huge opportunity presented itself with Chelsea.
“The desire to embark on this adventure was far greater than the fear and worry over the 18 month contract. In football you have to take the adventure, you have to be brave and courageous, and once you feel more involved, I’m happy where I am, I want to be better every day. It’s a good environment to do that. “