Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has “fame” and a reason to prove it, says Thomas Tuchel

ZAGREB, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 05: Christian Pulisic and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Chelsea as they arrive in Croatia ahead of their UEFA Champions League group E match against Dinamo Zagreb at Zagreb International Airport on September 5, 2022 in Zagreb, Croatia. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Thomas Tuchel says Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is hungry to play at Chelsea and prove a point ahead of his possible Champions League debut for the club.

Chelsea signed Aubameyang from Barcelona on deadline day, seven months after he was shown the door at Arsenal following off-field problems with head coach Mikel Arteta.

Aubameyang suffered a broken jaw in a collision before completing his switch at Stamford Bridge but traveled with Chelsea’s squad to Croatia and trained with a face mask ahead of Tuesday’s Group E opener against Dinamo Zagreb.

Tuchel confirmed Aubameyang. he could make his debut from the start or from the bench against Dinamo and enjoy watching the 33-year-old prove his point as the spearhead of Chelsea’s attack.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives in Zagreb with Chelsea ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League opener against Dinamo

“We had the opportunity to bring everyone who was available in Zagreb to do our last training here, including Denis. [Zakaria] i [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang,” Tuchel said in his pre-match press conference.

“Aubameyang did a test with his mask, he felt good, he trained normally, so if everything goes well today, both will be available.”

On Aubameyang, Tuchel continued: “He is the type of player [to thrive in adversity]he’s very ambitious, very focused, and he’s hungry to play with us and prove a point yet.

“That’s why he’s here, that’s what we heard from the start and he’s happy to prove a point tomorrow.”

Asked if Aubameyang had encountered any problems while training with his face mask, Tuchel replied: “If a problem comes up, we won’t play around with it, of course, but there was no problem yesterday and I hope there won’t be no problem today’s topic.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s win against West Ham in the Premier League.

“Is he ready to start? Of course. But he can’t play 90 minutes, it’s about us making a decision about how we manage the minutes. It’s clear that he needs minutes to get his rhythm and fitness, so it’s up to us to find the solution whether he comes off the bench or starts.”

Chelsea will be without defensive striker Thiago Silva for their Champions League opener, with Tuchel confirming the Brazilian had not traveled with the squad to give him time to recover from his hectic start to the season in the Premier League.

“We decided it with Thiago [Silva] he will have a break from travel, from stress, he has played every minute so far in very intense games,” said Tuchel.

“It was time to give him a break instead of benching him and having travel issues. He will take care of his recovery.”

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel refuses to comment on David Moyes’ allegations that goalkeeper Edouard Mendy “feigned injury” at Stamford Bridge on Saturday but says he can understand the West boss’ “frustrations” Ham.

Chelsea arrived in Zagreb in high spirits after Saturday’s controversial 2-1 win over London rivals West Ham was followed by the news that full-back Reece James had signed a new five-year deal to keep him at Stamford Bridge until 2027.

The England international has made 128 appearances for the Blues, scoring 10 goals, after coming through the Premier League club’s academy and helping Chelsea win the Champions League in 2021.

“He is a very decisive player for us,” added Tuchel. “He’s an academy player. We’ve told you many times how important he is and I think his development is far from over.

“There’s a lot to learn and a lot to come from him, but I’m happy to have a key player with us for so many years.”

Kovacic backs Aubameyang to thrive at Chelsea

Mateo Kovacic has tipped “proven goalscorer” Aubameyang to add vital firepower to Chelsea’s forward line.

Croatia midfielder Kovacic is brimming with pride to face his first and home club on Tuesday, but is also looking forward to seeing Aubameyang flourish in the blue of Chelsea.

“I can say that he will be a great addition for us,” Kovacic said. “He’s a proper striker, a goalscorer, which we’ve missed.

“In the last few years we haven’t had a 20-25-goal striker that’s needed to win the title. So we’re looking forward to having him in our squad.

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

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