Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that midfielder Mateo Kovacic has been ruled out for “some weeks” with a hamstring injury, while strikers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner are also likely to remain sidelined until after the international break.
Kovacic played 90 minutes as Chelsea advanced in the Carabao Cup on penalties against Southampton on Tuesday and was a surprise name given by Tuchel when the German listed the players unavailable to him ahead of Saturday’s trip to Newcastle.
Lukaku and Werner, who were both injured in Chelsea’s Champions League win over Malmo last week, will also miss the the reverse fixture against the Swedish side next Tuesday, as well as the home fixture against Burnley in the Premier League.
But Tuchel is hopeful that the pair will be back in contention for selection after the November international window, when Chelsea face Leicester, Juventus and Manchester United in the space of eight days.
The Chelsea manager did not put a timeline on Kovacic’s return, however, after the Croatia international suffered the injury in training, which Tuchel took responsibility for.
“We had some very sad news yesterday because he injured himself in the very last minute of training,” Tuchel said.
“It’s a hamstring injury and he will be out for some weeks. Hopefully after the international break he can be back here. He was injured by doing too much in training. It’s my fault.”
Chelsea have been boosted by the availability of Cesar Azplicaceuta, N’Golo Kante, Andreas Christensen and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, while Christian Pulisic has returned to training and could be available for the visit of Burnley next weekend.
“We have some better news than ahead of Southampton,” Tuchel said. “Timo and Romelu are still out because of their injuries. Christian Pulisic did join the last two training sessions but it’s early given the time he missed.
“Everybody else is available. Azpi, Ruben and N’Golo were back on the pitch so they will be with the team tomorrow and ready to play.”
On Lukuku and Werner, he added: “I’m not a friend of deadlines and putting pressure on expectations but I can tell you that it’s realistic that both of them have a new target and that is after the international break.
“This is what we aim for and what they aim for. Christian is looking forward to the Burnley match. If everything goes right, he should be in the squad then and ready to play.”