Kovacic ruled out after injury setback

Chelsea duo Mateo Kovacic and Antonio Rudiger have been ruled out of the west London derby against Fulham.

Chelsea hoped Kovacic would be fit to return after missing the Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid – in which Rudiger picked up an injury.

But the midfielder has suffered a setback in training and will be unavailable again this weekend.

Kovacic is now a doubt for Wednesday’s second leg against Real, but boss Thomas Tuchel is confident Rudiger will be available for that game.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Tuchel also said Billy Gilmour “could be” involved against Fulham.

“He (Kovacic) is still injured. He trained with us but is still not fully comfortable,” Tuchel explained.

“He felt something at the end of the training so he is not available, unfortunately.

“All other players are available expect for Toni Rudiger, who was injured in the Madrid game.

“Before training today we thought that Kova had a big chance join us for Madrid and maybe for Fulham.

“Now we have a little setback – not a big one – with him. I don’t want to be too negative. Let’s see how he feels tomorrow.

“For Toni, I’m quite positive for Wednesday.”

Kovacic’s injury could result in an opportunity for youngster Gilmour as it would enable Tuchel to rest N’Golo Kante ahead of the Real game.

“It could be tomorrow but it’s not decided yet,” Tuchel said.

“N’Golo feels very good. He looked very good today in training – fresh again. I was quite impressed.

“The last decision is made today in the evening or afternoon or maybe tomorrow morning.

“But Billy is in the squad. He has been very close to playing and is in good shape. So yes, he could be.”