Mateo Kovacic has tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss Chelsea’s Champions League visit to Zenit
on Wednesday December 7.
Speaking at his pre-match news conference on Tuesday ahead of their game in St Petersburg, head coach Thomas Tuchel described the news as a “huge setback” for the club,
Croatia midfielder Kovacic had returned to Chelsea training on Monday after hamstring trouble, only to return a positive coronavirus test on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old had been out of action since late October and Blues boss Tuchel had hoped to ease him back in this week.
“We have bad news because Mateo was in training yesterday and with a big smile and it was a pure pleasure to have him back,” said Tuchel.
“But he tested positive today, for coronavirus, so he’s quarantining for a few days. So it’s a huge setback for him personally and for all of us.”
Asked if the resurgence of coronavirus has caused extra concerns at Chelsea generally, Tuchel added: “Yes, I was aware that this can happen, me personally.
“I’m not happy not only as a manager but also as a person. But this is the reality at the moment, we have to face it to be ready to adapt and to do the best thing possible to avoid transmission.”