Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has provided a bleak report on Mateo Kovacic, who was forced off in Wednesday night’s 3-0 Premier League victory over Leeds United. After 24 minutes at Elland Road, Dan James was sent off for a dangerous high-studs tackle on Kovacic, and the Croatian was forced to be substituted.
Kovacic, one of the Londoners’ standout performances this season, had started alongside Jorginho in Yorkshire, and his injury comes just in time for the Blues’ FA Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday (4.45pm).
As a result, Tuchel said after the game that he is unlikely to play at Wembley this weekend. “I tell you not as a coach or an expert,” the German conceded, “but I don’t believe we’ll see him [at the weekend].”
When asked if he will be disappointed for Kovacic, Tuchel responded: “I’ll be really upset if Mateo misses it since he was an obvious starter. When it was eleven versus eleven, you could see the talent with Jorgi and him in middle. We’ll see what happens. Perhaps we are seeing a miracle.” The challenge was not broadcast live. I just saw it from afar, and I’m not good at looking at these things because it makes me uncomfortable. It was a red card, according to everyone.”
Tuchel will be hopeful that N’Golo Kante, who was left out of the Leeds team, can show his health in time for the final. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, on the other hand, is the leading prospect to start against Liverpool.
Meanwhile, Chelsea won 3-0 at Elland Road thanks to goals from Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, and Romelu Lukaku, and Tuchel continued: “When we were one man up in the second half, we began to understand the game better. We refused to give up. It was an excellent performance and a well-deserved victory.
“It was as simple as that for us to stand up. We surrendered late goals and equalizers for a variety of reasons. What we accomplished tonight was nothing new, but we executed it at a better level and with greater attention than in the previous matches.”
Chelsea are currently just one point away from confirming their place in the Champions League for next season, but Arsenal might guarantee their top-four berth for them if they can gain at least a point away at Tottenham on Thursday night.