Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that five of his players will be absent for Chelsea’s trip to Zenit St Petersburg when they head to Russia later on Tuesday.
Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Trevoh Chalobah and Jorginho have all been ruled out for the final Group H clash in Russia where a win, or matching Juventus’ result at Malmo, will see the Blues qualify as group winners.
Chilwell and Kovacic are long-term absentees but Kovacic has reportedly returned to training this week, but has since tested positive for Covid-19 and is now self isolating.
Chilwell is out with a knee injury he picked up in the last Champions League game versus Juventus, while Kante has missed the last two games with an injury sustained in defeat to Manchester United.
Chalobah limped off during Chelsea’s win against Watford last midweek while Jorginho played the full 90 against West Ham on Saturday but hasn’t made the trip to Russia.
Speaking at his 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 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. 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.”