Thomas Tuchel is understood to have arrived in Abu Dhabi to hand Chelsea a major boost ahead of Saturday’s Club World Cup final against Palmeiras.
The Blues’ German coach had been forced to miss their early Club World Cup endeavours after testing positive for Covid-19 and going into self-isolation.
The 48-year-old watched Wednesday’s 1-0 semi-final win over Al Hilal on television at home in London, but has now made it to the United Arab Emirates in time for Saturday’s showpiece showdown.
Chelsea’s taskmaster boss Tuchel is always an influential touchline presence and his arrival will doubtless hand the Blues a big lift.
Italy midfielder Jorginho admitted earlier on Friday that Chelsea would receive a big boost were Tuchel able to arrive and take charge of the Blues.
Asked if Tuchel’s presence would make a difference, Jorginho said: “Of course it gives you more, there’s more energy in the changing room.
“It’ll be really important for us if he could be here.”
Chelsea will receive a notable lift from Tuchel’s ability to coach his squad in person for Saturday’s showdown with Sao Paolo side Palmeiras.
The Blues have already received one boost however, in the shape of in-form goalkeeper Edouard Mendy’s return to the squad.
The 29-year-old is back in the Chelsea camp after helping Senegal claim Africa Cup of Nations glory, and assistant coach Zsolt Low admitted Mendy had already had a big impact on his team-mates.
The Blues will have to make a big call on whether to continue with an upbeat and confident Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal, or restore established number one Mendy.
But for now, Mendy’s mere presence in the squad has lifted Chelsea’s general mood.
“We’re very proud of Edou, the whole squad was happy he won the Africa cup,” said Low. “He arrived in a very good mood. He always has a big smile on his face, he’s very important to the group and he gives the group a lot of energy.
“He was a little tired the first day, needed recovery and a good sleep, but he is fully involved in training.
“We’re very happy that he’s healthy and absolutely in good shape with good experience behind him. He’s ready to play the game.
— Kepa Arrizabalaga (@kepa_46) February 9, 2022
“We’re very happy with both goalkeepers. It’s a comfortable situation to have both goalkeepers like this. Now Edou is back he is fresh, we have to take the decision tonight and we’ll talk to Thomas about it.
“The final decision will be some hours before the game but if we decide for one or the other, the one on the bench has nothing to be worried or sad about.
“Both goalkeepers had a big performance in the last weeks. This is why it’s a question just for this game. Tonight or latest tomorrow.”