THOMAS TUCHEL is powerless to persuade his players to get double jabbed after Covid struck at Chelsea yet again.
Midfielder N’Golo Kante is the latest player to test positive for the virus and must now be quarantined for ten days.
It is not known whether Kante, 30, has been vaccinated.
The news on the eve of Chelsea’s tough Champions League match at Juventus is a grim reminder that the pandemic rages on.
It also brings into focus the ongoing debate about whether footballers should be jabbed because of the risks when playing.
Boss Tuchel said: “It would be easy to say yes now and get applause from a lot of people. But at the same time do I have the right to say that? I’m not so sure.
“I can make the decision for myself and everyone else has to reflect and take the risk or not. It’s a serious question.
“Vaccination seems to be a proper protection. I am vaccinated. I took the decision for myself. But I don’t really see myself in a position to speak out on proper recommendations. That would go too far.
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“I’m a football coach, not a 100% expert on this. I would leave it to them.
“Everyone is an adult, living in a free country and society, and people can take their own choices.
“We take our actions and are responsible for it. We don’t want to lose players, but we are not angry with N’Golo.
“I am concerned about him like I am my injured players who took kicks in the game.
“I know the situation is far from over and all the time somebody gets it here from us and our crew, that makes it all the more aware it’s not over.”
Callum Hudson-Odoi was one of the first players in England to contract coronavirus during the first wave back in the spring of 2020.
His team-mate Kai Havertz later revealed the struggle to regain strength after contracting the virus at the end of last year.
Several other Chelsea players tested positive after summer holidays in 2020 and are all fine now.
Kante is a special case because he opted to stay away from Chelsea’s training ground during the first outbreak.
There are added concerns for his health in light of him passing out in front of fellow players in March 2018.
In football terms, the loss of Kante for Wednesday’s clash at Juventus and for Saturday’s home game with Southampton is a blow to the club.
Boss Tuchel is already missing key midfielder Mason Mount and defender Reece James is also crocked.
Defending European champions Chelsea sit second in Group H behind Juventus on goal difference.
The Italian two-time European champs are finding life tough following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo. They sit tenth in Serie A.
Tuchel said: “They lost a big champion, a big point of reference and a big personality. But you can be a big team and a strong team without Cristiano.
“They have a lot of talent, a very experienced coach, they’re a proud club who are used to winning, a mentality shaped by the demand for winning.
“This is my first time to play Juventus. Yes, they’ve had some troubles in the start with their results in Serie A, but they were very convincing in the Champions League.
“Sometimes, if players are missing it’s also the same for us and the guys who come in want to show they are reliable.
“We play Juventus at Juventus. It demands respect for the quality and tradition of this club.”