Thomas Tuchel believes Tammy Abraham is missing that “little bit of luck” required to thrive as Chelsea’s attacking spearhead.
England striker Abraham is the Blues’ top scorer this term with 12 goals in all competitions, but was dropped from the match-day squad for Sunday’s goalless draw with Manchester United.
Abraham was an unused substitute in last week’s 1-0 Champions League win against Atletico Madrid, and before that was hauled off at half-time during the 1-1 draw at Southampton.
Blues boss Tuchel continues to insist his selection decisions have not been pointed in any way against Abraham, but did concede that the 23-year-old has been missing a level of fortune lately.
“He lacks a little bit of luck, Tammy, not only in games but also in training,” Tuchel said.
“And once the last touch comes back, and he’s fighting for it now, he will stay a player that we will push for.
“It’s my job to push him to his limits and we will not stop doing this in supporting him.
“We have to cut it down to 18 players, so in the end it’s not always a punishment or a signal to a player who is not in the squad.
“And in this case it was exactly like this. It was not a punishment or a signal, it was just a choice from the alternatives, on which position who starts, who could come from the bench.”
Abraham’s last Premier League goal came in the 3-1 win over Arsenal on Boxing Day, but the academy graduate has registered four FA Cup goals in 2021.
Olivier Giroud led Chelsea’s line both against Atletico and United.
Abraham’s current deal at Chelsea expires in 2023, and a host of Premier League suitors are already closely monitoring his Stamford Bridge situation.
“This was a tough decision, but when things are like now, with hopefully nobody injured, we have these decisions to make,” Tuchel said.
“It’s a part of my job which I do not like, but at the same time I like because it means we have everybody available.
“And then you have to take these decisions, which we communicate normally clearly.”
Chelsea will face Liverpool at Anfield on Thursday with both teams battling to climb back into the top four.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is fit after a minor knee niggle, but Thiago Silva is not ready for match action despite returning to training after a thigh problem.
Abraham could also be a doubt owing to a continued ankle issue.
The careers of compatriots Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp have intertwined plenty of times in their native Germany, but the Chelsea boss revealed the duo do not know each other as well as many people think.
“Of course we know each other but maybe not as well as everyone expects,” Tuchel said.
“I joined the Mainz academy but this was exactly the year he left, so we never met in Mainz actually.
“Then I was his successor in Dortmund, so we did also naturally not meet.
“And of course we meet when there’s a farewell game for a player we both coached in Mainz, then we meet and sit together and talk. It’s a lot of fun to talk to him – he’s super interesting.
“We meet at coaches’ meetings, at UEFA meetings, and we use the time to have lunch or dinner together around these meetings.
“He’s always super funny and very, very interesting. But it’s not as close as it seems, maybe.”