Tuchel refuses to answer Moyes on Mendy claim, hints Auba ‘could start’ in CL for Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel has refused to respond to David Moyes after the West Ham manager accused Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy of faking injury.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did not appear for the Blues over the weekend but could make his debut on Tuesday night against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League group stage.

The striker joined Chelsea on deadline day for around £10m from FC Barcelona but has to deal with a broken jaw he sustained during a home invasion.

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The Gabonese striker had a custom-made mask fitted by specialists in Italy, and went into full training with Chelsea on Sunday.

Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic will be proud to face his first home club on Tuesday, but he will also hope to see Aubameyang flourish in the Chelsea blue.

“I can say that he will be a great addition for us,” Kovacic said. “He is a real striker, a goalscorer, who we have missed.

“In recent years we haven’t had a 20, 25 goal striker that you need to win the title. So we can’t wait to have him on our team.

“He is a proven goalscorer. It’s normal for him to score goals and I hope he does here at Chelsea too.”

Aubameyang may be required to wear a protective face covering in Croatia, but the striker is no stranger to masks of a different kind.

The Marvel fan has celebrated goals at both Dortmund and Arsenal by donning superhero masks, including Spiderman and Black Panther.

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Aubameyang previously explained how he started the celebration routine to make both his son and other young soccer fans happy.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel laughed at the mask link but admitted he will be happy for Aubameyang to celebrate however he wants, as long as he scores.

“Don’t put ideas in Auba’s head, please,” joked Tuchel. “No more ideas anyway! I’m pretty sure he has his own. When he scores, he can celebrate, but first of all he needs to score.

“He is very ambitious, focused, hungry to play for us, hungry to prove a point, still. That’s why he’s here and that’s why he plays for us. So we are happy that he will prove a point tomorrow.

“Auba trained on Sunday with his mask and took a test and felt good. There were no problems yesterday when he trained and I hope there are no problems today.

“If a problem arose, we would not include it, of course. I think he could maybe start, but I think he can’t play 90 minutes. So it’s up to us to make the decision to manage his minutes.

“However, it is clear that he needs minutes to find the full form and rhythm of the match.”

The signing on loan from Juventus, Denis Zakaria, has also traveled to Croatia and could be another of those who debut at Chelsea, since the Swiss midfielder’s work permit has been obtained.

Thiago Silva has not traveled with Chelsea opting to rest the 37-year-old Brazilian defender.

Edouard Mendy is fit, having overcome any problems from Saturday’s challenge with Jarrod Bowen in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over West Ham.

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Hammers boss David Moyes accused Mendy of faking injury after Maxwell Cornet’s goal was disallowed after VAR review, denying West Ham a 2–2 draw.

Moyes has avoided punishment from officials despite confronting referee Andy Madley and calling VAR official Jarred Gillet unfit for the job.

Tuchel refused to be drawn into the wider consequences of Saturday’s win, thanks to his combined £55,000 in fines from Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham.

When asked to respond to Moyes’ criticism of Mendy, Tuchel responded: “I didn’t feel anything. I did not hear the accusations. Mendy is available for tomorrow.

“You know what happened to me when I talked about the referee, and it was quite expensive. I told you I wouldn’t comment anymore.

“Also, I don’t respond to David, I can understand his frustration, his point of view. And we’ll leave it there.”

When asked for his general opinion on the current state of the arbitration, Tuchel added: “What can I say now to be clear at the same time and not pay a fine again?

“Where is the line? Maybe someone else had better comment now.”

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