Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku will miss Saturday’s Premier League clash at Leicester City as he continues to nurse an ankle injury while midfielder Mateo Kovacic will miss more matches, manager Thomas Tuchel said on Friday.
Lukaku has not played in the past month and Tuchel said he hopes to have the Belgian striker back for Tuesday’s Champions League group game against Juventus, with a decision set to be taken by Monday.
“I can tell you that Mateo and Romelu are still out for tomorrow. Romelu is close to team training so hopefully will join the squad on Sunday, he is pushing hard to come back ASAP,” Tuchel told reporters.
“We will not rush things. We will take things seriously as always, we will have talks with the doctor and the physios and the player.
“Mateo will take another (few) days until he is ready and will miss more matches.”
Kovacic has been one of Chelsea’s standout players so far this season, leading the squad with five assists.
German forward Timo Werner has also been injured for the past month but Tuchel was optimistic of his return while he was given a boost with winger Christian Pulisic coming through the international break unscathed.
“Timo (Werner) is in team training since yesterday, we will see as we have another training session in two hours. Maybe he can make the squad or the bench. Pulisic feels fine,” Tuchel added.
Chelsea lead the league with 26 points but with a tight schedule heading into the new year.
Tuchel is happy to be tested as he heads into December without the prospect of a winter break, which he enjoyed with his former clubs Borussia Dortmund and Paris St Germain.
“It is the first time I will play around Christmas and New Year,” he added.
“We had little breaks in France and Germany but what did we do? We watched Boxing Day games. I am aware of the schedule but it does not feel like a job. I am happy to be here.”