Following a positive case for star midfielder N’Golo Kante, who will not play against Juventus in the Champions League, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has stressed he will not cajole his team into getting their Covid vaccines.
World Cup winner Kante, who was Man of the Match in the Blues’ Champions League final victory against Manchester City last season, will also miss a vital clash against Southampton in the Premier League at the weekend after contracting the disease.
In his pre-match press conference ahead of playing Italian giants Juve in Turin, Tuchel was asked if he would recommend that his squad get vaccinated to prevent further absences.
“It’s easy to say yes and get approval from a lot of people. But do I have the right to say this? I’m not sure,” Tuchel confessed.
N'Golo Kante has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Chelsea's upcoming UCL game against Juventus and their Premier League match with Southampton. pic.twitter.com/N0E3IsjQcz
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 28, 2021
“I can make a decision for myself, and everyone else has to think and decide whether they want to take risks. This is a serious question,” he pointed out.
“Vaccination seems like real protection to me. I got vaccinated. I made the decision myself. But I don’t think I have the right to make recommendations.”
“This may go too far,” Tuchel went on.
“I am a football coach, I am not at all an expert on the topic of coronavirus. I’d rather leave this to the professionals.”
Tuchel believes his players must make their own choices regarding a Covid-19 vaccination pic.twitter.com/cTEaJEbtoi
— Project Football (@ProjectFootball) September 28, 2021
“Everyone here is adults living in a free country and society. People have the right to make their own decisions. We do something and then we are responsible for our actions.” Tuchel continued.
“We don’t want to lose players, but we don’t get mad at N’Golo. I care about his condition as well as the well-being of all injured Chelsea players.
“I don’t know what the percentage of those vaccinated at Chelsea is. I just do not know. We only reflect the situation in society. The players are adults and have the right to freely choose whether they want to be vaccinated. We have to accept this. This is more or less all I can say about it.
“I know the situation is far from over. I hope there will be as few infections as possible, but I definitely do not have a clear solution,” the German concluded.
The development comes amid reports of low vaccination rates among Premier League players and the top flight’s authorities struggling to get big stars to front campaigns that encourage fellow pros to get their jabs.
Last week, the Daily Mail reported that some clubs have as few as six players vaccinated against the virus, though some outfits including Wolves, Brentford and Leeds United have achieved vaccination rates ranging from 89-100%.
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