Chelsea suffer double injury as Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech both limp in Champions League win | Soccer News

Chelsea’s comfortable 2-0 win over Lille in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 was slightly overshadowed by second-half injuries to Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech.

Germany striker Havertz nodded into Ziyech’s sparkling corner, before Pulisic headed home through N’Golo Kante’s threaded pass in a dominating round of 16 first-leg victory.

The Champions League holders are now favorites to reach the quarter-finals, with Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Liverpool in sight.

Chelsea could be left sweating over the availability for this Wembley clash of two in-form players, following injuries to Ziyech and Kovacic.

Moroccan striker Ziyech and Croatian midfielder Kovacic limped out of the clash with the sullen expressions of those receiving more than just blows.

Tuchel is certainly hoping for good news on two players who would expect to have their say in the proceedings at Wembley on Sunday.

Ziyech was substituted in the 60th minute

Talk to BT SportsThomas Tuchel said: “It was another clean sheet and a well-deserved clean sheet. It was hard work not giving chances to a strong team. It was a bit of an up and down, very good times, weaker times, some unforced errors, but we never let the big chances slip away.

“It’s almost like the story of the season: every other game we make substitutions only because of injuries and not for tactical reasons. It follows us. We have a lot of days to recover [for Sunday]. Let’s see, hopefully the guys will be ready for Sunday.”

Havertz impressed in the false role of nine as £98m club-record signing Lukaku watched from the bench, with USA international Pulisic an equally effective supporting act.

Romelu Lukaku holder on the Chelsea bench against Lille
Romelu Lukaku was an unused substitute on Tuesday

Blues boss Tuchel has vowed to protect Belgian hitman Lukaku amid continued struggles for form and fluidity, following Saturday’s staggered showing at Crystal Palace.

Tuchel insisted Lukaku was benched at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday due to fatigue, but the 28-year-old’s Premier League record seven touches in the 1-0 win at Palace was undoubtedly taken into account.

Havertz and Pulisic were high octane by comparison, delivering an appealing pace, movement, and end product.

Asked about Lukaku’s omission afterwards, Tuchel added: “It was not the time after the game against Palace to focus on the few touches he had. It was a time to take a step back but you can clearly see that we put in a good performance.” It was a tough game and every question is almost about Romelu. There were nine other players who didn’t play and it’s a team game. There is a team.”

Christian Pulisic doubled the lead for Chelsea against Lille
Christian Pulisic doubled the lead for Chelsea

When asked why he didn’t warm up after the game, Tuchel said: “I don’t really know. Our fitness guys are dealing with it and I trust them. They must have a reason why. he was not out. has an individual program.

“Every game is different. We focused on intensity, high speed and hard work on the ball. Romelu has struggled in recent games to deliver that and that’s why I said I think that he was tired both mentally and physically. It’s like that and that way. Today we opted for three more players. Kai is fit and full of confidence.

“It was today’s decision, then we have four days to recover and decide the squad for Sunday.”

Chelsea striker Havertz felt it was a strong all-around display.

Thomas Tuchel called for more consistency
Chelsea will take a two-goal lead at Lille next month

“We knew it was a tough game, they played good football and the first half was very difficult for us. Now it’s half time and we have to win the next game as well,” said said Havertz on BT Sports.

“We didn’t play our best football, we couldn’t find the aggression of the last weeks, but we won 2-0 and that’s the most important thing. Sunday is another competition and we have to focus on it now.”

On his role in the Blues squad, the German said: “I always do my best in the Premier League too, sometimes you’re luckier sometimes not and I help where I can. It’s okay for me [playing in a more forward position].

“We have a lot of good strikers, so it’s also good to have a change and not make it easy for the opponent. Today it worked well and I enjoy every attacking position.”

And after?

Sunday, February 27, 3:30 p.m.

Kick off 4:30 p.m.

Chelsea will face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Football and Main event; kick-off is at 4:30 p.m. Lille receives Lyon Sunday in Ligue 1 at 7:45 p.m.

The return match will take place at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Wednesday March 16 at 8 p.m.

Sky Sports

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