Thiago Silva: Chelsea defender will miss first leg of Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid

Thiago Silva was injured in the first half of Chelsea's 1-0 Premier League win at Tottenham on February 4 but has returned to training; Chelsea travel to Bucharest to face La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday

Thiago Silva
Image: Thiago Silva will miss the first leg of Chelsea's Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid

Thomas Tuchel has confirmed defender Thiago Silva will miss the first leg of Chelsea's Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

The Brazil international defender was injured in the first half of Chelsea's 1-0 Premier League win at Tottenham on February 4 and has missed victories over Sheffield United, Barnsley and Newcastle, as well as Saturday's 1-1 draw with Southampton.

Silva was pictured training towards the end of last week but was not fit enough to play at St Mary's on the weekend, and Tuchel says the 36-year-old remains unavailable for the match in Bucharest.

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Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel says he understands Thiago Silva's feeling that success is only judged on Champions League progress

"He is not available," the Chelsea head coach said at a press conference on Monday. "He is training right now. We are leaving and he is not available."

However, Tuchel did confirm both Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic will be in contention for the game against the La Liga leaders.

Havertz has been absent since the 2-0 win over Burnley on January 31, while Pulisic has started once under Tuchel so far due to several issues including a minor calf problem.

"Very happy that both of them are in the group," Tuchel said. "They trained with us, no complaints, and they travel with us."

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'We spoke to Hudson-Odoi in front of the whole group'

Tuchel also discussed replacing Callum Hudson-Odoi in Chelsea's 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday despite only bringing the winger on at half-time.

Hudson-Odoi was substituted because his "attitude" was not right, Tuchel said after the match, and the German revealed how he addressed the situation.

Callum Hudson-Odoi has five goals and two assists from 16 games across all competitions this season
Image: Thomas Tuchel says he spoke to Callum Hudson-Odoi in front of the whole group

"We decided to speak to Callum in front of the whole group not alone," he said.

    "For us, it was not a big thing. I know it can be sometimes.

    "Still I did it and we had the only reaction we wanted - he went back to a good mood and trained well. This is the lesson for us to learn."

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    Simeone praises Tuchel ahead of last-16 clash

    Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has heaped praise on Tuchel ahead of Tuesday's Champions League last-16 first leg.

    The tie will take place in Bucharest instead of Madrid due to coronavirus travel restrictions and will see the Argentine face the German for the first time in a competitive fixture.

    Since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge he has guided the Blues to five wins out of seven in all competitions, and also led former club Paris Saint-Germain to the final of the Champions League in August.

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    Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone says Tuchel has helped improve Chelsea ahead of their Champions League tie

    "We just have to make a good game against a very big team, with a new coach, a very big coach and an important one that did his job everywhere he went to," Simeone said.

    "Chelsea is a very strong club, they develop every time and every year. They bring a lot of new players and invest in young players.

    Diego Simeone
    Image: Simeone's Atletico will play the first leg of their Champions League tie against Chelsea in Bucharest

    "When they didn't see the investment and it didn't pay, they had that change. They brought Tuchel but it is a really big team and since he came he put a good change in the numbers.

    "Just look at what players they have at goalkeeper, at striker and everyone who is on the bench can very well play in any team in Europe."

    Atletico Madrid
    Image: Luis Suarez has helped Atletico Madrid to the top of La Liga

    Atletico are not blessed with such luxuries but made a key addition during the summer when they convinced Luis Suarez to join from La Liga rivals Barcelona.

    The ex-Liverpool striker has repaid the faith of Simeone with 16 goals to fire them to the top of the table.

    "It is very important the presence of Luis Suarez in every competition, not just in the Champions League because he gives energy, he gives trust," the 50-year-old added.

    "All the opponents are really paying a lot of attention to him because this is a man who is scoring. Of course he is important every day."

        Chelsea face Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday before hosting Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday, live on Sky Sports from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm.

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