Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Mateo Kovacic will be missing when they take on Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final tomorrow evening.
The Croatian international injured his hamstring earlier this month, having not played since the 4-1 win against Crystal Palace, and Tuchel believes the midfielder’s absence is a big loss, considering what he brings to the team:
“Hopefully, he can come back against Fulham but he did not train with the team yet so I think that Tuesday will be too early, unfortunately. He was so happy to play against his former teammates and he is a crucial player for us. He could have helped a lot in the last games against Brighton and West Ham with his technique and his ball runs but it’s like this. The team is doing an amazing job and we have to keep on going.”
Recoveries from hamstring problems are not always straightforward. Tuchel downplayed the seriousness of the issue when Kovacic originally suffered the injury but it looks as though the player could now miss at least three weeks of action.
Considering how thick and fast the games are coming, the 26-year-old has already been sidelined for some big matches. He has been absent for four games against Porto, Manchester City, Brighton and West Ham so far. It appears from Tuchel’s comments that, in addition to the Real Madrid clash, he isn’t guaranteed to play against Fulham either.