First, a bit of good news. I know you’re supposed to start with the bad news, but not today! Today is good news first.
Mateo Kovačić has emerged out of self-isolation and Kai Havertz has returned a negative PCR test despite feeling unwell yesterday and being kept out of the match against Everton due to an abundance of precaution. Both players joined training at Cobham today, though Kovačić has a lot of match fitness to gain since this is just his second training session in a month and a half. And that’s where the bad news starts.
“No more positive results at the moment. Of course, [the] lottery starts again tomorrow morning and tomorrow afternoon. [Today], we have done our tests already so nobody can enter the training ground without a negative test.
“We were maybe — not too careful — but we left Kai out because he felt unwell so we thought it was a possibility he might be positive, we did a PCR test which wasn’t even needed in my information but he was negative.
“I had nobody else left on the bench so we took this risk in consideration that health comes first. Kai is still negative so he was in training but you can never be sure, tomorrow everything can be different and we have to go from there.”
A barely fit Kova and a half-fit Kanté might be pressed into action this weekend as yesterday’s starting midfield duo are doubtful at best for the trip to Wolverhampton. Jorginho’s feeling the back pain that he’s been dealing with and playing through for weeks if not months now, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek picked up an unspecified injury yesterday.
“Mateo had his first day in training, today. [But] we have again Jorginho a doubt for Sunday, because he’s in pain. We have Ruben Loftus-Cheek a doubt, because he’s in pain. So do we know that they can travel with us tomorrow? No we don’t.
“I don’t know if it’s possible for them to play on Sunday, so maybe we will start with N’Golo And Mateo. Would that be fair? No. Would that be possible? I don’t know, but maybe we do.
“[We] need to find a balance now because we put everything on Jorginho’s shoulders and on his responsibility. Ruben got injured yesterday, so let’s see. Maybe we are forced to do the crazy stuff that we wouldn’t normally do. But what’s normal? We miss key players and we find solutions.”
Assuming no more positive tests or injuries — a bold assumption, in all likelihood — we will still be without Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, and Callum Hudson-Odoi for ten days, and of course Ben Chilwell’s still injured and may yet face surgery on his ACL as well.
We’ve been dealing with a steady and non-insignificant stream of injuries all season, but we have to try to keep making the most of what’s available to us. Chelsea played well yesterday but did not get the rewards our level of play would’ve normally generated. That’s a tough one to take, but we can only keep moving forward.
“Tomorrow at 2pm is training then we all sit on the bus and go to Wolverhampton. I tell you no secret, once you have players out for Covid you have them out for ten days and in December this is a minimum of three matches.”
“[So] we’ve got to stay positive and find an 11 that is competitive enough to hopefully win this match against Wolves, because it’s a tough one. It’s hard to create chances against them, it’s hard to break their defensive line. We need to be very careful of their speed and individual quality up front.
“So there’s a lot of things to focus on [but] if we say we play, we focus on the guys who are here, and maybe we end up with N’Golo and Mateo Kovacic from the start.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Winter is here. It’s up to us to overcome it.