Thomas Tuchel hopes Mateo Kovacic can break the pain barrier as the Chelsea midfielder struggles to recover from an ankle injury in time for Saturday’s FA Cup final against Liverpool.
Kovacic limped out of Wednesday’s 3-0 win at Leeds after being caught by Daniel James in a tackle that led to the winger being sent off.
The Croatian is suffering from a recurrence of a previous ankle problem e Chelsea boss Tuchel said after the Leeds game it would be a “miracle” if he could be present at Wembley.
Despite having a very swollen ankle, Kovacic planned to train on Friday in an effort to show he is ready to face Liverpool he is chasing quadruple this weekend.
“We will actually try it today, which is pretty surprising news where we are in the situation where we can prove it,” said Chelsea boss Tuchel.
“Mateo wants to try it and the medical department has given the green light to try it.
“The ligament is still stretched from the last accident, so there is not a new injury but severe pain, and it is very swollen.
“Let’s hope that maybe time will be enough to make it.”
Tuchel believes Kovacic’s presence would be a huge boost for Chelsea’s bid to win the FA Cup for the first time since 2018.
The Blues have lost their last two FA Cup finals to Arsenal and Leicester, also suffering a penalty loss to Liverpool in the League Cup final in February.
“In the game (at Leeds) he was very good and generally came forward,” said Kovacic’s Tuchel.
“The quality and personality, his dribbling, ball transport, ball driving are excellent, a first team player.”
– ‘Not in my name’ –
Tuchel must decide whether to recall Kai Havertz to Wembley in place of Romelu Lukaku, who has scored three goals in the last two games.
Lukaku had a tough season following his £ 97m ($ 118m) transfer from Inter Milan.
The Belgian annoyed Tuchel in December when he hinted that he wanted to return to Inter and said he was unhappy with the way he was used at Chelsea.
Striker Federico Pastorello’s agent wants to talk to new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly about a potential return to Serie A.
However, Lukaku responded by stating that he was not involved in promoting talks about his future.
“I’ll never let anyone speak for me,” Lukaku posted in his Instagram story.
“I kept my mouth shut and focused on helping the team finish the season in the best possible way.
“So if anyone out there tries to say something about me and the club, not my name.”