London: Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said he was forced to give some players more minutes than he should have against Aston Villa on Sunday, with both Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi returning to action after missing the last three games due to Covid-19.
Chelsea secured a 3-1 win at Villa, with Lukaku coming on at half-time and Hudson-Odoi playing the full 90 minutes.
“It is not so easy when you have a long injury, with a body like (Lukaku) and you catch Covid-19,” Tuchel told reporters.
“When you read the match sheet and read the names you might think, yes, everyone is there, 18 guys and it is a top squad. But if you look at the details, you see that we are struggling and taking some huge risks.
“Callum (Hudson-Odoi) was forced to play 90 minutes straight after Covid-19 because of injuries during the match and that’s the way it is.”
While pleased with the three points, Tuchel was concerned about the players he must pitch back into action over the busy holiday period.
“This is a big reaction and win. At the same time, I am always concerned in the last weeks, I’m concerned for the health and the safety of the players,” Tuchel said.
“This is pretty challenging. It’s not over just because the names are back on the team sheet. At the moment the situation is very demanding.”
Third-placed Chelsea face Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday, before taking on Liverpool on January 2.