Manager Thomas Tuchel has offered an explanation for striker’s recent absence

It’s not Giroud, it’s me! Thomas Tuchel blames French striker’s absence from Chelsea’s last four games on his own decision-making as manager hints 34-year-old may be involved in Sunday’s FA Cup tie with Sheffield United.

Thomas Tuchel insists Olivier Giroud remains a ‘really important’ part of hisChelsea side and the fault for the striker’s recent exile lies with his own managerial failings.

Giroud has not featured in any of Chelsea’s last four games despite scoring a crucial away goal in last month’s Champions League win atAtletico Madrid.

Tuchel has left the 34-year-old on the bench over the past few weeks but the German says this is not down to a problem with Giroud.

Rather the manager, who is still ‘re-adapting’ to life with only three subs, has been frustrated by some of his in-game decisions making which have left Giroud short of opportunities.

‘I think he can have a huge impact to our team – he has the experience, physical presence, the ruthlessness in the box. That is his style of football,’ Tuchel said

‘He’s suffered now in the last two and a half weeks, the last four games, a bit which I’m not so happy with maybe my decision making during the matches against Southampton and Leeds.

‘After the games I had the feeling this could have been two games where he could have had 20-25 mins to actually maybe help us win and not draw. 

‘I didn’t give him these minutes because, honestly, I have to adapt back to three changes, which is actually sometimes only two changes because you don’t want to do the last one too early. So I have to re-adapt to this also.

‘This is clearly my fault, he’s training good, he had a very decisive goal for us in Atletico. 

‘After that, I assumed the games against Liverpool, Everton and now would be high, high intensity games where we use maybe more speed, which is not his biggest strength and there’s no problem about it.

Giroud could be given a chance to play in Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Sheffield United. 

Tuchel added: ‘He’ll stay positive, it’s my job to stay close to him, to push him and give him also the true feeling that he is still important because he is really important for me. So now the game now Sunday is the next moment. 

‘I think the international break comes at a good moment for him to keep the head a little bit up the clouds and to relive and enjoy the moment with us because I know he’s a big factor in the group, he’s a big part of the dressing room and I want him to continue like this.

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