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‘Not the first time’: Tuchel on late Christensen pullout from Chelsea team

Thomas Tuchel has opened up on Andreas Christensen withdrawing from Chelsea’s FA Cup final defeat by Liverpool on the morning of the game, claiming it was not the first time the defender had pulled out of a match at short notice.

Christensen, who is set to join Barcelona this summer, forced Tuchel into a late rethink for the final when he made himself unavailable despite not being injured. The Denmark centre-back was in line to start but he has complained of stomach issues before games in the past and it is unclear whether he will be involved when Chelsea host Leicester on Thursday and Watford on Sunday.

“Andreas came in the morning of the match to inform me, speak to me,” Tuchel said. “He told me he was not ready to play the match, to start the match and be on the bench. He had his reasons. They stay private and confidential. It was not the first time as you can see over the last weeks that we had some of the same situations.

“That’s why he did not play regularly over the last weeks. We thought we are in a good progression, development because he played a strong match before the final against Leeds. The conversation took place. We had to respect it. Of course. He has our support still but for tomorrow I am unsure. It was very short notice before the Cup final, not only before this match. Other matches the weeks before. No chance I have a prediction before tomorrow or the weekend.”

It remains to be seen whether Christensen is given a send-off at Stamford Bridge. The 26-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and agreed to join Barcelona after negotiations with Chelsea over a new deal broke down.

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