Tuchel backs calls for Premier League to re-introduce five substitutes

Thomas Tuchel backs calls for Premier League to re-introduce five substitutes amid Covid surge and fixture chaos as Chelsea boss insists matchday flexibility will allow clubs to ‘control the load’

  • Thomas Tuchel has echoed calls for the top-flight to re-introduce five substitutes
  • The Premier League allowed five subs during Project Restart back in 2020 
  • However, clubs voted against making the rule permanent last campaign
  • Tuchel has said Covid and fixture chaos means the load needs to be controlled

Thomas Tuchel has echoed calls for the Premier League to re-introduce five substitutions, with the Chelsea boss insisting that the surge in Covid cases during the busy festive period justifies the return.

During Project Restart in 2020, England’s top-flight allowed for teams to use five substitutes a match with players’ fitness not yet up to speed following a prolonged pause in the season.

However, as Covid cases rise among dressing rooms throughout English football, Tuchel says the issue needs to be addressed again.

Thomas Tuchel has backed calls for the Premier League to re-introduce five substitutes

The Blues boss fumed at the decision to allow his side’s game against Wolves to go ahead last weekend, with the west Londoners reporting seven positive Covid cases in the space of three days, and he has called for more measures to protect players’ welfare. 

‘For us it’s the same situation as for anyone else,’ he told Sky Sports. ‘We have concerns, because we are not only football players and coaches, we are also fathers and have family members so we are also concerned and have doubts and fears.

‘Still we are privileged to do our jobs and do what we love the most so it’s kind of in between. I’m very impressed with how the team takes it.

The German was left fuming at the decision to allow Chelsea’s game at Wolves to go ahead

Tuchel says the fixture chaos and Covid outbreaks means players’ loads have to be controlled

‘You know very well that the situation was very different when we arrived in Wolverhampton and had seven positive tests in three days.

‘We had the feeling that we had an outbreak and wanted some time to deal with it mentally and to settle the team down. That was not the case and we lived with it. We tried to be as supportive as possible.

‘I just can say on this occasion I would love to push for five substitutions because five substitutions were made to protect the players when coronavirus popped up and made life difficult.

‘I think the situation is very serious and very challenging so if we decided to keep on playing at least we should have five changes to control the load.’

The Chelsea boss echoed calls from Man United counterpart Ralf Rangnick on substitutes

Tuchel’s comments follow similar calls from Man United interim boss Ralf Rangnick, who highlighted that England is the only country where just three substitutes are permitted.

‘The five subs were implemented when Covid started, and I think it was the right decision to do that to save energy for players, especially if they have just recovered from Covid,’ Rangnick said.

‘The same is true right now – we are in a similar situation to the one we had one-and-a-half years ago, therefore I don’t see why it shouldn’t be as it was one-and-a-half years ago. As far as I know, in Europe England is the only country where they only allow three subs.’ 

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp have long campaigned for five substitutes to be a permanent rule in the Premier League. A vote on the subject went against the big sides last season. 

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