Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says he ‘has sympathy’ for Tammy Abraham after the striker was left out the FA Cup semi-final squad.
The Blues beat Manchester City at Wembley to reach the cup final on Saturday.
Hakim Ziyech scored the only goal as Tuchel got the better of Pep Guardiola.
It was a great day for pretty much everyone involved with Chelsea, other than Abraham.
The Englishman didn’t even make the bench for the tie despite being fully fit.
His omission led to plenty of exit rumours. Abraham is also in the midst of a contract debacle after recent reports stated he was ‘not interested’ in signing a new deal.
When asked about Abraham’s situation, Tuchel said: “I have a lot of sympathy for him, and I can absolutely understand that he’s worried, sad and maybe angry with me when I make these decisions.
“I have full understanding, but what I appreciate about Tammy and about all the others who are in a similar situation, is the mentality, the attitude he arrives with, because he never lets it affect the group.
“And that’s the main point to being a top professional. And don’t get me wrong, it’s also what we demand.
“You can be sure he wants to be the number nine and the guy who starts every game.
“So it’s a tough, tough situation for him personally, in a good moment for the team.”
The 23-year-old is competing with Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Olivier Giroud for a place in the starting lineup.
Werner got the nod against City and looked dangerous. He repaid Tuchel’s faith by setting up Ziyech for the winning goal.
The German boss continued: “I cannot be prouder of his [Abraham’s] reaction.
“I can demand it but at the same time I know how hard it is, and I have sympathy for their reactions and feelings.
“That’s why we need to take care of them, because it’s not a given that they react like this.
“But this makes a strong group in the end and we have a lot of games coming, and in a tight fixture things can change very quickly in football.
“That’s what this club demands, and this is what we demand from the players.”
The Blues face Brighton in the Premier League on Tuesday evening.