Thomas Tuchel explains why Thiago Silva was dropped for Chelsea’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Porto


Thomas Tuchel has left out Thiago Silva against Porto (Picture: Getty Images)

Thiago Silva has been dropped for Chelsea’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Porto on Wednesday night, but manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that it is simply because the defender is not at full match fitness.

The 36-year-old missed over a month with a thigh problem but was back in the team on Saturday against West Brom which did not end well for the Brazilian, or the rest of the Chelsea side.

Silva was sent off after receiving a second yellow card just half an hour into the match which the Blues went on to lose 5-2 to the Baggies.

It was a dreadful day at the office for Silva and his teammates, but Tuchel insists it was not his performance that has seen him left out in Seville on Wednesday, but simply that he is not at full fitness.

‘Well, he had only half an hour and all the other guys are totally fit,’ Tuchel told BT Sport. ‘It’s not the moment to improve your fitness level in a quarter-final.

‘We trust the guys and we are clearly aware that we need 100 per cent physical level.

‘Thiago is a super important player but is not fully fit for 90 minutes on highest level.’

Antonio Rudiger has come into the back three for Chelsea and Tuchel confirmed that there is ‘absolutely no problem’ with the German’s fitness. Thomas Christensen also returns to the side in place of Kurt Zouma.

N’Golo Kante has been out with a hamstring problem but returns to the bench against Porto, which Tuchel insists he is thrilled by, despite him not getting back into the starting XI.

‘Not a blow at all [not having Kante in the first XI],’ said Tuchel. ‘We have him on the bench and I’m delighted about that.

‘We’re absolutely happy to have him on the bench to finish the game for us.’

N’Golo Kante is back on the Chelsea bench (Picture: Getty Images)

Assessing the challenge ahead of his team, Porto manager Sergio Conceicao said: ‘Obviously we look at Chelsea and see that these weekly tests are much more competitive than ours.

‘You can see that Chelsea’s games are all extremely difficult, and that’s an advantage for them. Anyway, when you enter the field, you don’t think that we spent 25m euros and Chelsea 250m.

‘We will not think that Evanilson was the most expensive player, at 8m, and the most expensive player in Chelsea was (Kai) Havertz, at 80.

‘On the field it’s 11 against 11, with a strategy defined according to each team’s idea of play. There may be one or another variant of the game to face this opponent specifically, but from there on there is nothing impossible. Everything is possible.’


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Michael Essien rates Chelsea as Champions League contenders under Thomas Tuchel


MORE : Thiago Silva ‘surprised’ how quickly Chelsea squad has adapted to Thomas Tuchel’s style of play

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