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Kovacic Hands Chelsea Injury Blow Ahead of Champions League Tie with Porto

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea are looking to finish off the job on Tuesday following a 2-0 first-leg win last Wednesday at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán. Chelsea will however be without midfielder Kovacic for the

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea are looking to finish off the job on Tuesday following a 2-0 first-leg win last Wednesday at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.
Chelsea will however be without midfielder Kovacic for the second leg in Seville through injury and will see N’Golo Kante start on Tuesday night.
Tuchel was expected to make a late decision on Kante over his involvement against Porto, but it appears he will now start for the Blues.
“First of all, I was unbelievably happy when he said he would travel with us to Seville last week,” said Tuchel to the media on Monday.
“The plan was for him to return against Palace, so he came back earlier than expected, and I was so happy he could feature against Porto in the first leg. He helped us in the final 10 or 15 minutes with his quality and defensive work.
“The downside to that is that he lost a little bit of sleep, rest and workload for training the next day, because of the travel we had to do and not getting back to London until the early hours of the morning.
“He couldn’t train the next day like he usually does, so we decided again to bring him on from the bench against Crystal Palace. This is the decision we made and we will manage him in the best way we can.”
The Chelsea boss added: “We have to accept against Porto that the game will be up and down. Sometimes they overload sides and give you a lot of questions. If we want to end the season with a trophy then we had better win [this match and the weekend FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City] or it will be a bit difficult.
“The most important thing is to fully focus on what we do, forget we already have a result [like] we did against Palace [in the league at the weekend]. We can be confident. We are always a tough team to play against.”
Porto’s coach, Sérgio Conceição said: “We are confident. We know that we face a difficult task, but we are here to give the answer that we have to give. In these games, going all out from the off can be harmful. We have to be a compact, cohesive team.
“We have to score goals, but also to avoid conceding. We were good in the first leg, but not that good; if we were, we would have won. We will try to improve on what was a good team performance.”
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