Tuchel rules five out against Zenit and issues update on Kovacic

Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that he will be without the services of five of his players for tomorrow night’s Champions League clash with Zenit St Petersburg.

Chelsea will travel to Russia later this afternoon [Tuesday] for our final European group stage fixture, with the Blues hoping to clinch top spot ahead of the knockout stage.

The boss has confirmed that Jorginho will miss the tie with a back problem, and joins N’Golo Kante, Trevoh Chalobah and Ben Chilwell on the sidelines, while Mateo Kovacic has tested positive for Covid-19 and has entered a period of self-isolation.

‘We have a few players missing tomorrow,’ Tuchel explained at his pre-match press conference.

‘Ben Chilwell is out, N'Golo is out, Trevoh Chalobah is out, Mateo Kovacic is out and Jorginho is out.

‘We haven’t made all our decisions yet because we’ve only just finished the last training session before we travel but we may make some changes because we have to think about Leeds on Saturday also.’

The boss explained why Kovacic and Jorginho sat out training today, with the former suffering a setback in his rehabilitation due to his positive Covid-19 test this week and the latter nursing pain from Saturday’s defeat at West Ham.

‘We had some bad news with Kova,’ added the German. ‘Mateo was in training yesterday with a big smile and it was a pure pleasure to have him back.

‘Unfortunately we have had a setback with him because he has tested positive today for Coronavirus and is now self-isolating.

‘Jorginho is out with back pain and we played with that pain against West Ham United. He’s come from the Champions League final, the Euros and straight into the Super Cup, so we expected there to be a stage where he suffers a little with being overloaded.

‘We had a bit of an acute overload due to injuries and the schedule. Due to our injuries in some position, like central midfield, when we struggle. The game tomorrow is not the problem, it's more the game that comes up on the Saturday.

‘We had an early game against West Ham and then a late game against Zenit. We had a day off and good training session today. The problem is the next match on Saturday because we will lose time to sleep, arrive back very early on Thursday, and then we face an intense team in Leeds who have prepared to face this match.’

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