Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says he will consult with club doctors over the ramifications Christian Pulisic could face as he goes from playing games in the freezing cold of the U.S. Midwest to the winter heat of the United Arab Emirates.
Pulisic, who will miss the Blues’ FA Cup fourth round tie against Plymouth Argyle on Saturday, featured in each of the USMNT’s three World Cup qualifiers during the international break, one which was given over to rest and recuperation for most of Thomas Tuchel’s squad. That was not an option for Chelsea’s U.S. international, who captained his side against El Salvador, played the full 90 minutes in Canada before scoring against Honduras as a substitute in the freezing temperatures of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Of particular concern to Chelsea and Tuchel will be Pulisic’s involvement in that latter match and the fact he will have gone from the blistering cold of Minnesota to the winter heat of the Club World CupIn Abu Dhabi. The mercury hit zero degrees Fahrenheit at Allianz Field, with two Honduras players being substituted due to hypothermia fears as the USA won 3-0. In Abu Dhabi, temperatures reach an average high of 77 in February.
Tuchel said: “I understood that it was like a bit of a revenge from the U.S. for the hot temperatures in Honduras. I don’t know if I would have been there out coaching, I’m not so good in these kinds of temperatures and the chill factor. I’m happy that I was not involved, having to scout it would have been even worse, being on the tribune.
“To be serious, for him it’s quite an adaption to play in -16 Celsius and then go to Abu Dhabi and play in +24 Celsius. For him and Thiago Silva [who was involved in Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers], they did not have the break, they have some days off now. Christian will arrive tomorrow to travel with us to Abu Dhabi and see how he adapts to this kind of extreme change.
“I don’t know [what it will do to the body]. I will have to ask the doctor. It cannot be too healthy I guess, having jet lag and some flights in between, I guess you can do nicer things to your body than this. We will have to speak to the doctor and take care of him.”
In addition to Pulisic and Thiago Silva, goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is still absent and will play for Senegal against Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday. It remains to be seen whether he will travel to Abu Dhabi.
Chelsea will also be without Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Reece James and Ben Chilwell for Saturday’s game against League One Plymouth Argyle. The Blues were unable to secure cover for the latter duo — Tuchel’s preferred wing back options — but the head coach insisted he was not frustrated that the January window passed by without any new signings. Instead, Kenedy was recalled from loan at Flamengo and will have a clean slate as he competes with Marcos Alonso for a spot on the left flank.