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Tuchel challenges Hudson-Odoi to improve

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Thomas Tuchel has challenged Chelsea outcast Callum Hudson-Odoi to raise his performances on the pitch, claiming the the winger needs to “overcome the gap between training and games”.

The 20-year-old has become a peripheral figure since the German coach’s arrival in January, leading to links of a potential exit from Stamford Bridge. Borussia Dortmund showed interest in a loan move over the summer, but the Blues refused to let their homegrown talent leave.

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Hudson-Odoi was then presented with a rare chance to impress on Saturday, starting in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa. After the match, Tuchel addressed the topic of the out-of-favour winger, claiming that he has to “fight for his place” by replicating his training levels on the football pitch.

“Callum has to overcome the gap between training and games,” Tuchel remarked. “I see a stronger Callum every day in training and he needs to overcome this gap and show this kind of determination that he shows in training.

“If he gets minutes, it’s never a gift. Nobody gets gifts because we take maybe sometimes hard decisions like for Callum not to let him go. He needs to deserve it. I know it’s not his favourite position but I think he can play this position and serve the team when it’s necessary.

“Today it was necessary and still he can do better. Still he can be more aggressive, still he needs to push himself absolutely to the limits. This is what he does in training. He needs to overcome this gap to fight for his place in the squad. This is life at Chelsea.”

Tuchel also discussed Hudson-Odoi’s proposed summer move to Dortmund, claiming that it was “a very easy decision” to reject their approach. The German insisted that his adaptability and versatility meant that there was “no chance” of him leaving so late in the window.

“We have spoken. It was a very easy decision for me to make on the last day of the transfer period. We cannot to let a player who is in the 18/19 man squad. He is able to play as a right wing-back, a left wing-back in the two ten positions. He knows the group, we know him very well. There was no chance to say yes on the last day.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, Thomas Tuchel

Tuchel didn’t allow Hudson-Odoi to leave the club / Eddie Keogh/Getty Images

“For him personally it may have been a good opportunity but for us and our targets that we want to achieve, it was simply impossible. It was an easy one for me actually.”

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