Thomas Tuchel says dropping Ben Chilwell from his Chelsea team was a “hard decision” but urged the left-back not to “lose his trust” in order to win back a starting spot.
Chilwell was a mainstay under Frank Lampard, who pushed to complete his £50m switch from Leicester in August, but lost a regular starting berth at left-back to Marcos Alonso in recent games.
Despite not playing since September, the Spaniard started three of the Blues’ last four outings in all competitions and scored in his first – a 2-0 win over Burnley in January.
But when asked if the England international is anxious about his game-time as he approaches this summer’s Euros, Tuchel said he should not worry.
“If he is, I can absolutely understand, because he got some difficult and very tight decisions go against him,” he said.
“We took the choice for Marcos in a game where we played with five [defenders] because he was more familiar with the position, he played under Antonio Conte and we opted for him for his strengths in the air, to defend and attack set pieces.
“Marcos did a very good match and scored the decisive goal and from there it was hard to come back. I had a talk with him before the Tottenham match and told him ‘You have to trust me now, I see the potential, I see your talent’.
“It’s possible that [Chilwell] thinks a lot about this situation, hopefully not too much because he can have trust in himself first of all, and he can trust us as staff that we will keep on pushing and we will find possibilities to reward him.
“He showed a good performance in Sheffield which was very important for him and for the team, but sometimes it takes a little bit of time and there are hard decisions at the moment in clubs like Chelsea with a squad of 23 players.
“It’s my job to not lose these players, and to help them not to lose their trust, and if he keeps on going he’s a fantastic guy and he has a lot of potential and we will find possibilities for him to be on the pitch.
“At the same time, we wanted to have a start where we are fair to everybody and we don’t judge nobody by the amount of money that the club has spent, but to give everybody the feeling that this is a fresh start.
“If Marcos is in the moment the guy who took a bit the advantage of this situation, yes, but this is not the end for Chilly’s development, for sure.”