Thomas Tuchel has admitted he can understand why Tammy Abraham would be worried about his Chelsea future.
England striker Abraham has not featured at all for Chelsea since the 1-1 Premier League draw at Southampton on February 20.
Despite finally shaking off a troublesome ankle problem, Abraham was omitted entirely from Chelsea’s squad for Saturday’s 1-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City.
Blues boss Tuchel remains convinced Abraham can fight back to Chelsea prominence, praising the 23-year-old’s continued professionalism.
“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,” said Tuchel.
“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.
“But you have to put your ego aside, this is also what we demand from him, but it’s also what he gets a lot of credit for, from me personally, but also from his team-mates, because he’s not letting anybody down, he’s pushing.
“So I cannot be prouder of his reaction.
“I can demand it but at 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.”
West Ham are understood to head the queue of Premier League suitors eyeing up Abraham should the talented striker look to leave Chelsea in the summer.
Blues manager Tuchel admitted selection meetings with his staff can run and run, given the potency in Chelsea’s squad.
“It’s never an easy decision, sometimes we spend almost an hour talking after the last training on which players we have to leave at home,” said Tuchel.
“Because it’s thin margins that decide.
“Tammy has had these decisions now a few times against him, which is never personal, but this is life at Chelsea sometimes as a player.
“I hope that he does not get lost in too many thoughts.
“He knows he must not be too concerned about his situation, everything he can do is to stay focused, to stay with belief.
“The situation for a striker can change in minutes.
“I hope he’s not concerned about his future, I hope the only thing he cares about is his training, because it’s the only chance for him to escape the situation.
“It’s my responsibility to make these choices, sometimes they are not even fair because we have to find a mix for 18 players to have all solutions for substitutions and positions in the game.
“So he has every right to keep his head up and to trust himself.”
Chelsea will host Brighton on Tuesday night, where the Blues can move back into the Premier’s League top four with victory.
Andreas Christensen should be fit after a muscle injury, but Mateo Kovacic remains sidelined with hamstring trouble.
“I expect Andreas to be back and to be available, he trained very well yesterday and I hope this will continue today,” said Tuchel.
“Thiago Silva, we’ll see if it makes sense that he starts or in on the bench, not because of injury but because of acute overload, with two games after his recent injury.
“So I hope that it’s only Kova that we have out with injury.”