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Thomas Tuchel has revealed the plans he has to get the best out of Raheem Sterling at Chelsea this season amid his move from Manchester City.
The 27-year-old made the switch from the Premier League Champions early on in the summer, having spent seven seasons at City.
Last Saturday saw Tuchel’s side earn their first three points of the season as they beat Everton 1-0 away from home, with Sterling making his competitive debut.
He lined up in the front three alongside Mason Mount and Kai Havertz, with the forward operating mostly through the middle.
As Chelsea prepare to face London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday evening, Tuchel has revealed that he is still working on trying to find the best position for his new man.
During his pre-match press conference, he said: “I think he should play in the last line or in between the defensive lines to drive towards the last line or run through the last line.
“He was very, very good in training in this free role as a number 9, dropping into half spaces. It’s such a lot of quality that there are many spaces to use for him.
“He can play from the wing of course, he is used to playing there. He was very dangerous, had an offside goal and big chance from number 9 which was more of a free role for him to play and I liked it a lot.
“Things are not finished. He came late to our pre-season.
“One thing is clear, the kind of impact he has physically and mentally, in terms of quality, it's huge no matter where he plays.”
Chelsea’s match against Spurs this weekend will be the fourth meeting between the two sides in 2022, with the Blues winning the previous three.
They knocked their London rivals out of the Carabao Cup at the semi-final stage with a 3-0 aggregate win, before claiming a 2-0 victory at home in the Premier League at the end of January.
Sunday’s game could prove to be even more difficult though as the UK is experiencing yet another heatwave this summer, with water breaks being used across Premier League fixtures.
Tuchel later spoke on the heat’s effect on his players: “It is demanding. It is more demanding, we see clearly from the data.
“The same training exercise in different conditions has very different output and effect on how you feel. It is maybe also a matter of how much you want it and accept it because it will feel at times very difficult and draining.
“It is also a question of who has the ability, the will to play through the pain.
“I’m not there yet that it influences my starting XI from the weather forecast but we accept the fact that this kind of heat has a physical effect on the players, of course."