Graham Potter revealed that Mateo Kovacic hasn’t been fully fit since he took part in Chelsea’s pre-season.

Speaking ahead of the Carabao Cup game against Manchester City tomorrow, Potter addressed the ongoing fitness issue concerning the Croatian international.

Kovacic was only deemed fit enough to start on the bench against Arsenal on the weekend.

He missed the Champions League victory over Dinamo Zagreb a few days earlier entirely due to his physical issues.

The 28-year-old has also been forced to sit out four Premier League games this season, starting just four of the 15 played so far.

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Chelsea have certainly lacked a degree of quality without their multi-functional midfielder in the past few months.

But it’s no great surprise that Kovacic hasn’t accumulated many minutes considering the length of time he’s been suffering.  

Kovacic has suffered for some time

“Well he’s had an on-going knee issue that’s a little bit of discomfort,” explained Potter.

“But it hasn’t stopped him completely. We’ve had to be conscious of that during this period. Its not a massive problem for him, he’ll be fine for the World Cup.

“I wouldn’t say he’s necessarily 100% but he’s not far off that. We’ve managed it really well, or he’s managed it really well, he’s a top professional.

“He’s done everything he can in terms of rehab and looking after himself in the gym, making sure his body is as good as it can be.

“He’s a fantastic professional. It’s been going on from pretty much pre-season.”

Photo by David Horton – CameraSport via Getty Images

Kovacic will hope to shake off his wounds ahead of the World Cup, which begins in just under two weeks.

Selfishly, Potter must be praying for an instant recovery, as Chelsea still have to major fixtures to contest before the tournament.

City await the Blues at the Etihad tomorrow evening, before Newcastle United open their gates to the Londoners on Saturday.

"Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produced regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League. Nathaniel is a full-time writer for the Chelsea Chronicle, and was formerly their social media man. His footballing career reached the sparkling heights of winning the Under-13s Bloxham Tournament in 2011."