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.
N’Golo Kante remains sidelined with a knee issue, while Jorginho has been forced to play through the pain of a back niggle and will also now miss Wednesday night’s game.
“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.”