Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel acknowledges it is “a rough time” for out-of-favour striker Tammy Abraham.
Abraham’s chances of being selected for England at Euro 2020 appear to be slipping away, but Tuchel insists he cannot pick players on that basis.
With Chelsea away to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday, the prospect of a recall to the starting XI for Abraham seems slim.
The former Aston Villa loanee has not played for Chelsea since February 20 and has been subbed off by half-time the last three times he started in the Premier League.
Ahead of the Palace clash, Tuchel was asked about whether Abraham’s recent return from injury and his hopes of representing England at the Euros meant he would play more before the end of the season.
“I cannot do a decision on the personal goals of players,” replied Tuchel. “I’ve got to do what I believe is best for Chelsea.
“Kepa has the goal to play for Spain but this can’t influence my decisions.
“Tammy has had a rough time. He started twice or three times and substituted for tactical reasons at half-time.
“He’s not had the impact we wish and demand from him.
“He then got injured, lost the connection and possibility to play for his place the squad. Now suddenly we are in the decisive part of the season, where it’s not so easy to bring injured players into the shape.
“We’ve only got three changes and a big handicap. It’s up to Tammy to do everything possible.
“We have 22 players on the pitch and it’s very hard to select 18 for Premier League matches.
“In the offensive position, it’s possible to have a huge impact in small minutes. We demand a lot of Tammy, he demands a lot of himself.”
Chelsea lost 5-2 to West Brom in their last league outing, a first defeat under Tuchel after the German had made a fantastic start to his reign.
They bounced back well with a 2-0 win over Porto in their Champions League quarter-final first leg and now look to continue a strong recent run against Palace.
Palace have lost their past six Premier League matches against Chelsea, their worst ever losing run against the Blues in league football.
Tuchel added: “Crystal Palace are a physical team with two key players up front that we need to take care of.
“It’s a pleasure to be on the sideline with Roy Hodgson on the other side. It means a lot to be there.
“We’ll do everything we can to beat them but we expect a tough away game.
“I met him once years ago. He is a gentleman and open to sharing his experience in coaching. His teams are calm, experienced and very, very solid.”
Chelsea have won 1.82 points per game in Premier League London derbies, the best ratio amongst sides from the capital.
By contrast, only Fulham (0.81) have averaged fewer points per game in such matches than Palace (0.93).
None of the past 19 Premier League meetings between Palace and Chelsea have ended as a draw.