Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was quick to rebuke a journalist and shut down a question about Dele Alli at his press conference on Wednesday.
Chelsea take on Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham in north London on Thursday night and while the German coach was happy to speak about the threat of Harry Kane and coming up against Mourinho.
However, the Blues new boss drew the line at speaking about Alli, who was heavily linked with a move to his old club PSG.
Alli had been tipped to join PSG on loan in search of valuable game time, with reports suggesting that the 24-year-old was eager to reunite with Mauricio Pochettino in France.
“Are you at the right press conference?” he said. “Are you sure? I will not answer that.
“I was happy to answer about Harry Kane [and his injury-enforced absence] because it is an honour for me to speak about him being one of the best players but with everything else, for every other player, I want to show respect and not talk about players of other coaches. We stick to our team, thanks.”
Spurs are likely to be without talisman Kane in due to an ankle problem, with Tuchel admitting that would boost the visitors.
“Well I would say it’s always easier if Harry Kane’s not playing, this is a given, this is for sure absolutely no secret,” Tuchel said.
“He’s for sure one of the best number nines in the world. He’s the role model on the number nine that every team and coach wishes for, in terms of work-rate, ambition, mentality, attitude, and for sure goal-scoring is simply outstanding.
“At the moment we assume he will not play, but we will prepare ourselves for all cases.
“So if he’s on the pitch we will also be prepared for that.”
Anticipating a stern test from a typically organised Mourinho team, Tuchel admitted he never had the temerity to view the decorated Portuguese manager as a role model when climbing the football ladder himself.
“First of all I strongly believe that it’s Tottenham against Chelsea and not me against Jose,” Tuchel said.
Tuchel: Mourinho was not a role model
“Was he a role model? Honestly, when I started my career he was so far away, like the moon from the earth, so he could not be a role model at all.
“I was happy at the academy, then I was promoted to first league football and from there I just enjoyed and focused on every day.
“He’s one of the best managers in the world, he has now created a squad at Tottenham that’s very, very competitive, very, very strong.”
Chelsea will head to Spurs with injury doubts over defender Kurt Zouma and forward Kai Havertz.
Both players were forced out of training on Wednesday with unspecified injuries, leaving Tuchel admitting both will require late fitness tests.
“We have two little issues today on the training pitch,” Tuchel said.
“Kurt Zouma and Kai Havertz went off the pitch with little issues, so they are checking now, doing images right now.
“So it’s questionable if they are in the squad for (Thursday).”
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