Graham Potter says 28-year-old should not have played as much as did in Manchester United draw

Chelsea manager Graham Potter said he has been forced to use Mateo Kovacic as much as he has recently despite the midfielder’s knee injury problem.

Kovacic entered the pitch in the 36th minute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United, and it is safe to say that he had a big impact on the game.

Even Bruno Fernandes admitted that Manchester United had some problems in midfield after the Croatia international came on and Chelsea changed their shape.

Potter argued that he felt the team was overrun in midfield which led to the early substitution, but he is still worried about having had Kovacic play so often.

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“He [Kovacic] has been nursing his knee for all season pretty much, and you look at the schedule, it’s Sunday-Wednesday-Saturday — it’s impossible for him to start all the games,” Potter explained in his post-match press conference (via Football London).

“We’ve planned for him to have less time than he has, but things have conspired, so he has been on the pitch.

“We all know his quality but at the same time, we’ve got to understand the player’s situation as well.”

Kovacic played for more than 45 minutes in Chelsea’s last four games and featured in seven of the eight games under Potter.

In Wednesday’s stalemate with Brentford, he had to come on early due to Conor Gallagher’s feeling unwell on the pitch, and he had to once again come to the rescue.

N’Golo Kante’s injury absence obviously has not helped, either, and Potter does not seem to trust Denis Zakaria yet.

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Gerry is a Chelsea supporter who has more than five years of experience in online publishing. He started out writing for Chelsea fan blogs during his high school years, before writing for several local sport news outlets. After graduating in NCTJ-accredited sports journalism MA at the University of Sunderland, he has worked as a freelance writer for The Chelsea Chronicle since 2020. He is a big fan of football statistics and strongly believes that sooner or later, the xG Gods always catch up. He is also a proud member of Michael Ballack fan club.