Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic will miss his side's Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid, head coach Thomas Tuchel has revealed.
Kovacic has been on the sidelines since April 10th with a hamstring injury and has missed games against Manchester City, FC Porto, and Brighton. The midfielder is also set to miss the weekend's Premier League match against West Ham United this weekend.
"Me personally, I hope for Fulham [on 1 May]," he said in his pre-match press conference.
"Don’t take it for granted, or that it is medical advice, it’s just my personal opinion."
"I think it’s maybe possible to be back against Fulham, between the Madrid games. I think Madrid could be close, he’s not trained with the team, to be realistic, tomorrow is a game, then two days to prepare for Madrid, without training, it will not happen, hopefully, Fulham is a realistic target."
The 26-year-old is expected to return for the return leg against Madrid on May 5th.
Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is set to return to the starting XI after Kepa Arrizabalaga started both the Carabao Cup final against Man City and EPL tie with Brighton in the midweek.
"Mendy is in goal [against West Ham]," he revealed.
"The change was made for Kepa for the cup game and even before the cup game, we decided he would stay one more game after Man City, to feel the reward and the rhythm."
The Blues are fourth on the log with 55 points, 22 behind leaders Manchester City.
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