Thomas Tuchel is hopeful that Chelsea FC will be able to welcome Christian Pulisic back into their team sooner rather than later following his recent injury lay-off.
The playmaker has been sidelined since September after having picked up an ankle injury while on international duty and then suffering a number of minor setbacks on his road to recovery.
Tuchel has revealed that Pulisic was “close” to making a return to the squad for the Blues but suffered a setback in recent days as the American looks to regain full fitness as quickly as possible.
Pulisic sat out Chelsea FC’s Champions League clash with Malmo on Wednesday night and it is not entirely clear when the 23-year-old will be back available for selection again.
Tuchel was asked to provide an update on Pulisic’s situation before the Champions League tie at Stamford Bridge – and he said he hoped to have the former Borussia Dortmund man back available again soon.
“He got injured during the match with the USA, it was a foul, a tough foul, he hurt his ankle,” Tuchel said on Tuesday.
“There is nothing to worry about, we are not hiding details. I cannot give you all the details because I am simply not a doctor.
“At the moment he has some setbacks with pain, not from major injury or complication it’s simply the pain in the ankle that disturbs him.
“Once these players with quick movements like Christian feel this pain and are not free in their movements recovery is not happening and you start all over again and reach a certain point and then the pain comes back, you do a pause and then start again.
“Right now we are very, very close. He was already so close to come to team training last week and had a little setback with a reaction because of pain nothing serious.
“He is very impatient, he does everything. We se him suffer in every meeting when we meet him in our training centre. He is really suffering, he wants to be on the pitch helping us. Unfortunately the injury takes its time.”
Pulisic has scored one goal in one Premier League game so far this season, with his latest appearance coming in the 3-0 win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge back on 14 August.
Last season, the USA international netted four goals and made two assists in 27 Premier League games as the Blues finished fourth in the table.
Speaking back in August, Pulisic admitted that he couldn’t wait to line up with new Chelsea FC signing Romelu Lukaku.
“He’s a great striker,” Pulisic said of Lukaku. “He plays really good with his back to goal, holding the ball, and he’s a great goal-scorer, so I’m very excited to play with him. It’s going to be exciting times.
“We have a very good team with a lot of depth and it’s a really exciting team.
“When you have a bunch of good players it’s never a bad thing so we’re really excited to see how this year goes.”