Thomas Tuchel says Jack Grealisha will be hard to control as Chelsea play Aston Villa on the last day of the Premier League, and he believes Villa is a “different team” with him in the lineup.
In the last Sunday game of the season, Chelsea are guests, knowing that a victory will secure them a place in the Champions League next year.
The 11th-placed Villa stand in the way of Tuchel’s side, and with a draw, Liverpool and Leicester – both a point behind the Blues – hit them in the final hurdle.
The host has been boosted by the return of prominent midfielder Jack Grealish, who suffered a shin injury in February after six goals and 12 assists in the first 22 games of the season at Villa.
His absence is noticeable. Dean Smith’s team managed 11 wins before the injury, but had just three wins in 14 games before Grealish returned to the starting lineup in a 2-1 win over the Spurs on Wednesday.
With the 25-year-old expected against Chelsea on Sunday, Tuchel said: “Look at the stats! Aston Villa with and without him are different teams.
“He is involved in almost every offensive situation. He is very good at making decisions.
“He has a lot of composure in helping, finishing and bringing people around him into top-notch situations, dangerous situations so he can score a goal.
“He is a top player and [there is] which needs to be taken care of a lot and be aware that we control it on Sunday. What he will do in the future is in his hands. “
‘England has a bright future and talented young people’
Tuchel arrived at Chelsea in January and called his English football experience “everything I expected and more”.
The former Paris Saint-Germain coach, who previously led Borussia Dortmund, admitted he was impressed by what he saw from the English players, despite the perception that English football is more ‘physical’ and not as glamorous as in other countries.
“I hope England never try to play like Spain or Brazil,” he said. “Brazil plays like Brazil, Argentina like Argentina and Spain like Spain. This is the beauty of it.
“It’s like in club football. That’s what we like at European competitions – it’s a clash of styles, a clash of cultures.
“You have so many talented young players, you have so many experienced personalities and you have an English team full of experience in a tight schedule and super tough leagues.
“I am just sure [England manager Gareth Southgate] is absolutely thrilled with the choice he can choose from.
“You have a very strong side and a bright future because you have a lot of young players and a league that brings out the best in you.”
The race for the top four in the Premier League will go by the wire, with seven games live on Sky Sports on the last day of the season.
Chelsea climbed to third place and ruined Leicester’s Champions League football prospects with a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, and Liverpool took advantage of that on Wednesday, skipping the Foxes with a 3-0 win over Burnley to take control of their fate.
Just one point and a goal difference separate the three sides into Sunday’s final – and you can follow the whole drama Sky Sports.
Liverpool – Crystal Palace, Leicester – Tottenham and Aston Villa – Chelsea will all be live Sky Sports channels as the season peaks and Sky Sports cameras will also be at the Etihad to see champions Manchester City lift the trophy after taking over from Everton.
All matches start at 4pm on Sunday 23 May:
Man City vs Everton – live Sky Sports Premier League from 3 p.m.
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace – live Sky Sports main event from 15.50h
Leicester vs Tottenham – live Sky Sports Football from 15.50h
Aston Villa vs Chelsea – live Sky Sports Action from 15.50h
West Ham vs Southampton – live Sky One from 3 p.m.
Arsenal vs Brighton – live Sky Sports Arena from 15.50h
Fulham vs Newcastle – live Sky Sports Mix from 15.50h
– All games will be available on Red Button at Sky Sports Premier League i The main event.