Mateo Kovacic: Chelsea midfielder testing positive for Covid-19 is 'huge setback'

Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic
Kovacic has made nine Premier League appearances for the Blues this season

Mateo Kovacic testing positive for Covid-19 is a "huge setback" for Chelsea, says manager Thomas Tuchel.

The Croatian midfielder had returned to training on Monday after being out since October with a hamstring problem, but tested positive on Tuesday.

"He 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."

Tuchel, speaking before Wednesday's Champions League trip to Zenit (17:45 GMT), added: "It's a huge setback for him personally and for all of us."

You have a certain anger when you lose - Tuchel

Chelsea, last season's tournament winners, have already qualified for the Champions League last 16 and a win in St Petersburg will ensure they progress as group winners.

Tuchel had hoped to ease Kovacic, 27, back into action this week with N'Golo Kante sidelined with a knee issue and Jorginho struggling with a back niggle which will keep him out of Wednesday's game.

Asked if the resurgence of Covid-19 has caused extra concerns at Chelsea generally, Tuchel added: "Yes, I was aware that this can happen.

"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."

How to follow Chelsea on the BBC bannerChelsea banner footer

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC