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Kovačić still out as Tuchel looks for fresh legs and fresh minds against Manchester City

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Fitness updates from the boss!

Chelsea Training and Press Conference Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Spirits at Chelsea are as high as ever following a tremendous performance against Real Madrid on Wednesday night to book a place in the Champions League final for the first time since 2012. It’s a massive reason to get ecstatic, however, the season is far from over, and we haven’t actually won anything yet. The players must refocus with four Premier League games to decide out top-four fate as well as an FA Cup final sandwiched in-between all on tap in the next fortnight.

The first of those four league games is in fact against fellow Champions League finalists, and Premier League champions-elect, Manchester City, who have a lot less riding on this game than we do but are still expected to win tomorrow at the Etihad — even if we did beat them in the FA Cup semifinals.

Chelsea continue to maintain a very short injury list despite the congested and grueling season, and while Mateo Kovačić remains out, there’s hope that we will have him back for the following game(s) at long last.

“In terms of the injury list, it does not change much. We still have training to go later today where things could change but right now, everyone is ready apart from Kova.

“Kova is unfortunately still out. We hope to bring him back for the game against Arsenal and then hopefully for Wembley [FA Cup final v Leicester].

“It will be tight for the Arsenal game but for tomorrow, for sure, he is will be out. Everyone else is available for tomorrow’s match.”

Tuchel has been rotating his squad well and opportunistically, but with some of our key players having accumulated excessive minutes recently, this game might be one of those times where he needs to make chances out of necessity — despite the game’s magnitude.

“We haven’t totally decided yet. We have one day less to recover and it’s away game, so we are travelling today and that’s a key factor at this time of the season. I imagine we’ll need some fresh legs and fresh minds, guys who want to show they deserve a chance in a big fixture.

“Whether there will be new stuff tactically I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet. I have to look at who is available after training today. There is a high possibility we will see some changes.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Chelsea FC

Since our 2016-17 title-winning campaign, we have been playing catch-up to Manchester City (and Liverpool for a time as well).

While Manchester City have once again run away with the league, we have already prevented them from winning one trophy in the FA Cup and could do the same in the Champions League on May 29. City can wrap up the title with their next win, but the gap finally seems to be closing.

“It feels good because it means we are there. We wanted to arrive, had no favourites in terms of who we want to play. We were focused on us and having the chance to play at Istanbul, it was the same in the semi-final.

“The job was to close the game to City for 90 minutes, you never want to accept in football there is any gap. When you play at team like City that is the benchmark, you step up and try to close the gap which is what we did at Wembley.

“It’s a big challenge for us but listen, it’s why we are here and everyone that plays for Chelsea tomorrow will be fully focused and determined to do the best job possible. We have to now forget Wednesday as it won’t help us on the pitch. Forget the praise, the positive feedback, the result.”

- Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London

Let’s rise up to the challenge and bring home all three points!