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Petr Cech takes on new Chelsea role with Thomas Tuchel’s absence at Club World Cup


Thomas Tuchel is currently unable to be in Abu Dhabi for his side’s Club World Cup campaign after testing positive for Covid-19, so Chelsea legend and technical director Petr Cech has stepped up

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Chelsea legend Petr Cech has stepped up to help the Blues deal with Thomas Tuchel ‘s absence at the Club World Cup.

Cech is the club’s technical director but has taken on a new role after Tuchel tested positive for Covid-19 and was unable to make the initial flight to Abu Dhabi, having also missed their extra-time FA Cup win against Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

Assistant coach Zsolt Low has been assuming some the Chelsea manager’s duties in the Middle East, with the former Blues goalkeeper also being present for training sessions and team meetings.

“It’s a big challenge but we have a very good structure club with Chelsea. Petr Cech supports us well when Thomas is not here,” Low explained during a press conference on Tuesday.

“We have a good medical staff, team management. We have a lot of support. And a lot of video calls with Thomas.

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Cech is Chelsea’s technical director
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Image:

Marco Canoniero/LightRocket)

“He’ll support us as best he can and give us every day preparation in meetings. In the next days there’s the possibility to talk to the team.”

On Cech’s involvement in particular, the coach added: “Petr is all the time with us. He was an amazing player, now an amazing sports director.

“He has a very good feel and when we need him he steps up. He doesn’t want to disturb and be part of every meeting but he is giving us some support.”

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Chelsea’s run begins with a semi-final clash with Saudi Arabian giants Al Hilal on Wednesday afternoon, with Tuchel unable to be on the touchline at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium.

And Low is not taking the competition lightly, with the Blues losing in 2012 against Brazilian behemoths Corinthians.

“We have to take the role after winning the Champions League. We know we’re a good team and play a good game but Al Hilal are very good, with an experienced coach [ Leonardo Jardim ] from some big clubs,” he affirmed.

“He’s a very good coach, a very good team. We take the role as favourite but for sure it can be a difficult game tomorrow.”

Captain Cesar Azpilicueta was part of that losing team in 2012 and the defender is keen to avoid the same fate this time around, with the Club World Cup being the only trophy he has not yet won at Stamford Bridge.

“It was hard to take that defeat,” Azpilicueta admitted. “Maybe with the time you realise how difficult it is to get there. We saw how Corinthians prepared for the game.

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Chelsea’s Club World Cup campaign starts on Thursday

“Sometimes small details make a difference and on that day we weren’t at our best. It hurt a lot.”

The Spaniard, who has entered the final five months of his contract, added: “Let’s start with tomorrow. We know it’s really quick, semi-final tomorrow and you have to win both games.

“We’ll try to impose our game. It’ll be a tough game and show our strengths from the first minute. Let’s see if we can do that. It’s not going to be easy.”

If Tuchel’s team are victorious on Wednesday, they will face Palmeiras or Al Ahly this coming Saturday.

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