Mateo Kovacic ruled out until after international break with hamstring injury

Tom Gott
Mateo Kovacic is out injured
Mateo Kovacic is out injured / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

Chelsea will have to do without midfielder Mateo Kovacic until after the upcoming international break as manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed he picked up a hamstring injury.

The Blues are already without strikers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, but their preparations for Saturday's meeting with Newcastle were given a huge boost by the news that Christian Pulisic, Andreas Christensen, N'Golo Kante and Cesar Azpilicueta were all back in training in Thursday.

Tuchel was so caught up in the positivity that, when asked in his pre-match press conference to give an injury update, he actually forgot to mention Kovacic completely, only to reveal the problem late on.

"Now that you've reminded me, we had sad news yesterday as he injured himself in the last minute of the training session," Tuchel said. "He suffers from a hamstring injury and will be out for some weeks.

"He'll be out for next week for sure, and then comes the international break, so it's a minimum of these weeks. Hopefully, after the break, he can be back."

Fortunately, Kovacic's absence coincides with the return of Kante, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek has also returned to training after a hip injury kept him out of the midweek victory over Southampton.

The duo are both available for selection, but Tuchel confirmed that this game comes too soon for Pulisic, who has missed the last 11 games in all competitions for Chelsea because of a combination of COVID-19 and an ankle injury.

"Christian Pulisic did join the last two training sessions, but it's still too early given the time that he missed," he said, adding that the meeting with Burnley next weekend is a more realistic aim for the American.

"On Lukaku and Werner, Tuchel concluded: "I'm not a friend of deadlines, but I can tell you that it's realistic that both of them have a new target, which is after the international break. This is what they aim for and what we aim for."