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Tuchel confirms Chelsea midfielder has tested positive for COVID-19

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The Chelsea boss says he will make changes to keep his side fresh for their next Premier League match.

Chelsea will face Zenit Saint Petersburg in their next Champions League game on Wednesday. The Blues are already qualified for the next round. However, they will have to play their final Champions League game without some of their key players.

Matteo Kovacic tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. The Chelsea midfielder has just returned from an injury and will now need to self-isolate. He will most likely miss the games against Zenit, Leeds United, and Everton.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Zenit game, Tuchel confirmed Kovacic’s positive test.

“We have bad news because Mateo was in training yesterday with a big smile and it was a big pleasure to have him back,” he said (via Metro).

“But he tested positive today for Covid so he’s isolating and out for another several days.

“It’s a huge setback for him personally and for all of us.”

In addition to Kovacic, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho, Ben Chilwell and Trevoh Chalobah are also unavailable for the game.

The Chelsea manager added: 

 “We had a bit of an acute overload due to injuries and the schedule,

“Due to injuries in some positions, like central midfield, we have struggled. The game tomorrow is not the problem, it’s more the game that comes up on Saturday [against Leeds].

“We had an early game against West Ham and then a late game against Zenit. We had a day off and good training session today. 

“The problem is the next match because we will lose time to sleep and arrive back very early on Thursday. Leeds are an intense team who have prepared to face this match.”

Manchester City leapfrogged Chelsea from the top of the Premier League table after defeating Watford on Saturday. The Blues now sit third behind the Citizens and Liverpool in the league.

After the game against Zenit, Chelsea will face Leeds United in their next league match on Saturday.