Thomas Tuchel admits Mason Mount was not happy to be left out of the Chelsea side against Manchester City but insists it won’t be long until the midfielder regains his untouchable status.
Mount was a surprise omission from the starting XI at the Etihad Stadium and was only introduced from the substitutes’ bench with ten minutes to play of the 1-0 defeat.
The 23-year-old has been an almost ever-present for Chelsea over the past two-and-a-half seasons; Mount has made a rather incredible 136 appearances since his debut in August 2019.
Yet despite the heavy workload placed upon him, Mount always wants more. That is something Frank Lampard admitted earlier this year.
“I remember every time I didn’t play Mason – and people will say it wasn’t that much – but his eyes were burning you in the meeting room the minute I didn’t pick him and that’s a 20-year-old kid,” Lampard told the Guardian “I liked that because it reminded me of myself.”
Mount has featured in 19 of Chelsea’s 22 Premier League games this term, only missing matches against Aston Villa, Manchester City, and Newcastle United due to a combination of fatigue, injury, and a wisdom tooth infection.
His importance has been underlined in recent weeks by the fact he started and completed 90 minutes in each of the Blues’ eight previous top-flight games. It’s why his absence from the side against City was such a surprise.
Mount is likely to return to the starting XI for tomorrow’s trip to Brighton and Hove Albion. And ahead of that game, Tuchel has opened up on whether he received the “burning eyes” that Lampard referenced.
“Yeah, I get them and this is absolutely normal,” Tuchel said with a smile. “But it’s still within Mason’s character of kindness and being polite and being respectful, so there is no harm in this.
“I get the eyes, I get the look. I know the look, of course. He is here to play these kinds of matches, but we were simply opting for runners. We thought we could break the line more often with Hakim (Ziyech) as a left foot on the left side and going for Christian (Pulisic) as a right side because of the arrival of Christian in the box.
“Normally, he is a bit more offensive, a bit more of a runner than Mason and we expected the spaces more behind the last line and not in front of the back four from City. So that was the decision.
“I felt Mason not in the 100% zone where he is like untouchable, which he normally almost is. So we took that decision and it can happen from time to time. He’s not happy about it, but it will not last long because everyone loves Mason – me included.”
After Tuchel’s appointment in January last season, Mount spent much of the remainder of the campaign on the left of the front three. This term, however, the academy graduate has been used more on the right.