Chelsea’s coach Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that five players will be absent for Chelsea against Zenit St Petersburg at the Gazprom Arena in Russia for tomorrow’s UEFA champion’s League (UCL) last group match.
The five players are Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Trevoh Chalobah and Jorginho, they will not feature in the Group H game where a win, or matching Juventus’ result at Malmo, will see the Blues qualify as group winners.
Kovacic, who has been absent for some time but reportedly returned to training this week has since tested positive for Covid-19 and is now self-isolating.
Chilwell has a knee injury he got from the last Champions League game against Juventus, while Kante has been missing in action since the last two games, an injury he sustained against defeat to Manchester United.
Chalobah was injured against Watford last midweek, while Jorginho played the full 90 minutes against West Ham on Saturday but hasn’t made the trip to Russia.
In a pre-match press conference ahead of the game, Tuchel said: “Ben Chilwell is out, N’Golo is out, Trevoh Chalobah is out, Mateo Kovacic is out, and Jorginho is out.
“We had a bit of an acute overload due to injuries and the schedule. Due to our injuries in some positions, like central midfield, when we struggle. The game tomorrow is not the problem, it’s more the game that comes up on 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. We can let anybody play of the 17 players plus goalkeepers we have.
“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.”