Mateo Kovacic is ‘very unlikely’ to reach the FA Cup final, says Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel

Leeds United vs Chelsea - Premier League

Mateo Kovacic was the victim of a terrible challenge from Dan James (Picture: Getty Images)

Mateo Kovacic is “very unlikely” to play in Saturday’s FA Cup final after suffering an ankle injury against Leeds United on Wednesday night, he says Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

Kovacic was on the wrong end of a reckless challenge from Leeds striker Dan James at Elland Road that saw the former Manchester United man shown a red card.

The 28-year-old tried to continue but was soon forced out of the game in West Yorkshire, which Chelsea won 3-0.

However, the good result was marred by the Croatian’s injury. Tuchel said: “It looks swollen and painful. It’s the same ankle he had previously injured. It does not look good.’

On the midfielder’s chances to face Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday, the Germany manager added: “I’m not telling you as a coach and I’m not telling you as an expert, but for me it’s very unlikely.

Leeds United vs Chelsea - Premier League

Kovacic had his foot in the ice after limping away (Picture: Getty Images)

“I see him – especially when Mateo goes out, he never goes out and he played in the semifinals of the FA Cup with the same injury and tried to play another 15 minutes which was almost impossible. Now he went out. It was a swollen ankle and he’s in a lot of pain.

“For me I am not a doctor and we have to wait for the tests. It is very unlikely that he will be able to play. On a perfect night, that’s absolutely bad news for us.”

Chelsea have plenty of options in midfield if Kovacic doesn’t make it back for the weekend, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek replacing the Croatian from the bench while Ross Barkley was an unused substitute at Leeds.

N’Golo Kante missed the trip to Leeds through injury but is expected to be available at the weekend.

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Chelsea FC Mateo Kovacic is 'very unlikely' to reach the FA Cup final, says Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel

Nate Jones

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