Thomas Tuchel confirms Romelu Lukaku has tested negative for Covid and could make Boxing Day return

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  • Aston Villa
    Aston Villa
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  • Thomas Tuchel
    German association football manager and former player
  • Romelu Lukaku
    Romelu Lukaku
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  • Callum Hudson-Odoi
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 (AP)
(AP)

Thomas Tuchel is hopeful of having Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi available for Chelsea’s Boxing Day clash with Aston Villa.

The pair are among eight players who have been sidelined after testing positive for the virus as part of an outbreak at the London club, one which was not deemed substantial enough for their Premier League meeting with Wolves to be called off last weekend, despite six other top-flight matches being postponed.

A depleted side drew at Molineux, losing further crucial ground to Liverpool and Manchester City in the title race, but the Blues returned to winning ways by beating Brentford 2-0 to reach the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

They did so despite Tuchel making eight changes to the side that started at Wolves, though it was ultimately the introductions of the likes of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Reece James from the substitutes’ bench that proved decisive.

That quintet are all likely to come back into the lineup for the Villa game and they could be joined in the squad by Lukaku and Hudson Odoi.

“If I understood it correctly, we need a negative test first of all and we have negative tests for Romelu and Callum and Ben Chilwell,” Tuchel said.

“Chilwell will not be involved in the Aston Villa game [because of injury] and for the other two, they will be on the pitch tomorrow if they are again negative tomorrow and then we need to see.

“The guys have been ill, they had symptoms, so let’s see. It’s a Premier League game in one of the toughest places you can play in the Premier League. It’s good news, don’t get me wrong, it’s very good news, but I’m not over-excited now because I know I need to check how they are.”

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