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Injury Update

CHELSEA: Thomas Tuchel issues fresh update over Mateo Kovacic’s injury ahead of West Ham clash

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Mateo Kovacic is definitely sidelined for Saturday’s London derby between Chelsea and West Ham United, confirmed Thomas Tuchel in his pre-game press conference, with Kovacic nursing a hamstring issue.

The Croatian international midfielder remains in the fray to stage a return to the pitch in the coming week but would be doubtful of featuring in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final against his former side Real Madrid.

Tuchel voiced concerns over Kovacic’s fitness levels ahead of the London Stadium showdown over the weekend which promises to be a crunch tie for both sides vying for the final Champions League qualifying spot.

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“Mateo Kovacic is still out but everybody else is available.

“For me personally, I think we can hope for Fulham but don’t take that as medical advice. Maybe the physios and doctors will kill me for that but I think it’s maybe possible to be back again against Fulham, which is in between the Madrid games.

“Madrid [first leg] will be very close because he has not trained with the team so Fulham is more realistic.”

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In Kovacic’s absence, Tuchel is likely to field his first-choice options in the centre of the park in the form of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante with the latter having been rested for Chelsea’s latest outing in Premier League action against Brighton.

The west Londoners had been held to a frustrating goalless stalemate at home to Graham Potter’s men as Chelsea blew a major opportunity to widen the gap on fifth-placed West Ham who are their forthcoming opponents come Saturday in the capital city.

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