Thomas Tuchel concedes Mason Mount is ‘not happy’ about being dropped for Chelsea’s game with Manchester City, but feels the midfielder’s reaction is ‘absolutely normal’ and ‘will not last long’.
Mount had started Chelsea’s previous eight games in the Premier League and eyebrows were raised as Tuchel instead went for Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic in support of Romelu Lukaku.
Timo Werner and Hudson-Odoi were introduced just moments before Kevin De Bruyne’s strike – which turned out to be the winning goal – and Mount was left on the bench until the 81st minute when he replaced Marcos Alonso.
Chelsea’s pursuit of an equaliser was in vain, though, and City preserved their one-goal advantage to open up an imperious 13-point gap at the top of the league table.
Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s match against Brighton, Tuchel attempted to explain his selection decision while stressing that he and the entire team still ‘loved’ Mount, who will be desperate to return to the team at the Amex Stadium.
‘Yeah, I got them [the burning eyes] and this is absolutely normal,’ the German coach explained when asked how Mount reacted to being dropped at City. ‘It’s still within Mason’s character of kindness and being polite and being respectful, so there is no harm in this.’
‘He is here to play these kinds of matches, but we were simply opting for runners,’ the Chelsea manager added.
‘We thought we could break the line more often with Hakim [Ziyech] as a left foot on the left side and going for Christian [Pulisic] as a right side.
‘Normally, he is a bit more offensive and he’s a bit more of a runner than Mason, and we expected the spaces more behind the last line and not in front of the back four from City.
‘I felt Mason was not like in the 100 per cent zone, where he is untouchable, which he normally almost is. He’s not happy about it, but it will not last long because everyone loves Mason – me included.’
Asked whether he felt Mount’s form had dropped in the absence of Ben Chilwell, Tuchel replied: ‘Yes, that’s a good point. ‘I think he’s also missing Reece James.’