Kalidou Koulibaly joined Chelsea from Napoli this summer for a fee of £35 million. The Senegalese international has settled in at Chelsea simply.
He scored his first goal for the club against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. The Senegalese international was sent off in Chelsea’s defeat to Leeds United at Elland Road after picking two yellow cards in that game.
Koulibaly was suspended for the Leicester City game. And he is expected to return against Southampton on Tuesday night at the Saints Mary’s Stadium.
Thomas Tuchel, however, is impressed by the leadership qualities and professionalism of the 31-year-old.
What did Thomas Tuchel say about Kalidou Koulibaly?
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League game against Southampton, Thomas Tuchel said when ask if Kalidou Koulibaly is emerging as a leader at Chelsea: “Yes, he is already. He’s a fantastic player and has a fantastic personality. I am so happy with what I see, not only that we convinced him to come to the club, but how he behaves and trains. I see a lot of quality and everything that is needed to be a leading figure at Chelsea. He will be on the pitch at Southampton. He is a massive player for us, and there’s no doubt about it.”
Thomas Tuchel also explains the Chelsea midfielder dilemma after the injury to N’Golo Kante and the suspension of Conor Gallagher. This means Chelsea has only two experienced midfielders in their squad.
“It is, and it’s normal, the area I would love to have a headache about who plays and who is on the bench. This is normally the area where I thought we would have five players that could all play for us and have Carney (Chukwuemeka] on top as an option as a young player.
“The headache before the season was whether we had too many players there, but it comes to the fifth game, and maybe we only have two left with experience in this position and Kova from the bench because he is not ready to play full matches at Premier League level as he only had a week after training after his injury.
“It’s a strange situation and a situation we don’t like. I don’t know why we are in this situation, actually. It’s like this, and we will have something to think about [over the team selection], or maybe not because it’s so obvious who we have left.”
The German also expressed his excitement about being on the Touch line for the Southampton game after being suspended in their last game against Leicester City.
“It’s better. But listen, I played many times against Antonio Conte, and normally we have zero issues with each other, so things can happen in a football match. I have a lot of respect for Ralph, and we have played against each other a lot of times, and he is a very nice person and a very good coach, and his fingerprints are all over this Southampton team every year.
“He will be friendly before the match, but during the match, he will not only be friendly with us. Don’t make the mistake; he is a competitor as we are. We will fight it out, but always with fair play. It will be better to be on the sideline than in the stands.”