Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has explained that new signing Kalidou Koulibaly struggled physically during the opening game of the Premier League season.
Koulibaly, 31, made his competitive debut for the Blues during Saturday evening’s 1-0 away victory at Everton.
The powerful centre-back looked impressive on the left of a back three, but was eventually substituted off with 15 minutes to go due to cramp.
Pat Nevin was impressed with the defender’s performance while he was on the pitch.
For Chelsea, they leave Merseyside with three points in the bag thanks to Jorignho’s emphatic penalty in the first half. They’ll hope to stretch the 100 per cent start next Sunday at home to rivals Tottenham.
Koulibaly struggled physically
Tuchel shared that Koulibaly was finding it difficult from a physical standpoint in the Everton win.
However, he did give a bit of justification in the fact the Senegal international joined up for training during pre-season late.
“Koulibaly struggled a bit with the physicality because he came late and lacked a bit of training,” Tuchel said in a post-match interview.
His fitness is definitely something to keep an eye on moving forward, but Koulibaly should be really delighted with how he handled himself against Everton.
PL fans see what all the fuss is about
Koulibaly made a long-awaited Premier League debut on Saturday, something that neutrals have wanted for years.
He’s built up an excellent reputation in recent years due to his performances at ex-club Napoli, but this summer was finally the year an English club managed to get his signature sealed.
His performance against Everton showed signs of what a great addition he could be to the line-up.
He definitely looks assured when he’s on the ball, including a great moment where he produced an incisive pass in the build up to Chelsea winning a penalty. Meanwhile, he’s a strong and fast defender that looked comfortable.
Let’s hope he can get up to full speed quickly, though.
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