Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed a double injury blow for the Blues ahead of the Premier League meeting against Fulham on Saturday.
Mateo Kovacic has been absent for the past five games with a hamstring injury, and he has now suffered a setback in training before the London derby.
Speaking in a press conference, Tuchel confirmed Kovacic’s absence and said that he could be doubtful for the second leg of the Champions League semi-final tie against Real Madrid.
Rudiger also won’t feature against the Cottagers after picking up a knock in Madrid. However, Tuchel was optimistic about the centre-back’s availability for the return leg.
He told Chelseafc.com: “Unfortunately, he’s still injured. He trained with us, but he’s still not fully confident. He felt something at the end of the training, so he’s not available.”
“Before training today, we thought Kova has a big chance to join us latest for Madrid, maybe even for Fulham, so now we have a little setback with him.”
“All other players are available except for Toni Rudiger, who got injured in the last minute of the Madrid game. I am quite positive for Toni [being available] for Wednesday.”
Tuchel played Mount in midfield during the recent goalless draw against Brighton & Hove Albion, where he decided to rest Kante.
Ahead of tomorrow’s game, Tuchel hinted that there could be a possibility that Billy Gilmour could feature ahead of either Kante or Jorginho.
He added: “It could be, but it’s not decided yet. N’Golo feels very good – Jorgi looked very good in training today, fresh again.”
The Blues are currently fourth in the league standings, three points and a superior goal difference ahead of West Ham United.
They still have plenty of work to do to finish in the Champions League places with a testing schedule to complete the campaign.
After the Cottagers, they have games against Manchester City, Arsenal, Leicester City and Aston Villa before the season concludes.
The Blues are overwhelming favourites for tomorrow’s derby. They are unbeaten in the previous 20 meetings against the Cottagers.
That includes a six-match winning league streak. Fulham have not won a competitive game at Stamford Bridge since October 1979.