Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has ruled Mateo Kovacic out of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final match against Manchester after the midfielder picked up a hamstring injury in training.
Tuchel had no other option but to play N’Golo Kante for 90 minutes in the 1-0 second-leg loss (2-1 win on aggregate) to Porto on Tuesday evening following Kovacic’s injury.
It went quite well, as the Blues eventually secured a ticket to the semifinal and Kante finished the game without any injury issue.
However, Kovacic will not be available for the weekend, unfortunately.
“Yesterday in training he got a muscle injury in his hamstring after 20 minutes, more or less out of nothing,” said the Chelsea manager about Kovacic’s injury in his post-match press conference.
“He is for sure out for the game against [Manchester] City as well, which is a big loss.”
“I was very sad for him.
“We don’t have so many experienced players who have played Champions League many times.
“When the anthem plays he is relaxed and at the same time, he is a hard fighter.
“Everybody is happy to have him around so we did it also for him today.”
On a positive note, Kante and Jorginho were superb in midfield in the game against Porto, which is encouraging ahead of the big game at the weekend.
But Tuchel will pretty much only have those two, along with Billy Gilmour who has not been involved in a match since the 2-0 win over Sheffield United last month, as his midfield options.
Speaking before the game, Tuchel also said that Andreas Christensen had not been fully recovered to start the game and was still nursing a muscle injury he picked up from the first leg last week.