Graham Potter provides Mateo Kovacic injury update after calf tightness during RB Salzburg victory

Graham Potter has provided an update on the condition of Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic after he was taken off during their 2-1 win against RB Salzburg.

Kovacic opened the scoring for Chelsea at the Red Bull Arena on Tuesday evening with a stunning swipe into the top corner, which left Philipp Kohn with zero chance.

Junior Adamu levelled four minutes into the second half, but Kai Havertz exquisite curler in the 64th minute restored the lead which was enough to seal all three points and a 2-1 win for Chelsea in Austria.

But Kovacic was forced off during the second half when he was replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, appearing to have an issue with his calf.

The 28-year-old has been carefully managed in recent weeks after Potter confirmed he had been playing through an injury all season.

“He’s been nursing his knee for all season pretty much and you look at the schedule, it’s Sunday-Wednesday-Saturday and it’s impossible for him to start all the games,” said Potter on Saturday evening.

“We’ve planned for him to have less time than he has but things have conspired so he has been on the pitch.

“We all know his quality but at the same time, we’ve got to understand the player’s situation as well.”

Despite having to come on from the bench against Manchester United early, Kovacic was still named in the starting XI to face Salzburg on Tuesday night.

although the Chelsea head coach is not too concerned about the tightness in his calf and hopes the issue isn’t too bad.

Potter said post-match: “There was a bit of tightness (in his calf). Hopefully it is not too bad.”

Chelsea will now travel back to London to recover and prepare for another away trip at the weekend. They head to the south coast to face Potter’s former side Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.

 

The win in Austria seals Chelsea’s spot in the last-16 of the Champions League ahead of their final Group E match against Dinamo Zagreb next Wednesday at Stamford Bridge.

It will allow Potter to rest and rotate, with the Chelsea head coach adding: “We’re at home at Stamford Bridge and we’ll try our very best.

“We want to win every game we play, that is the mentality we have to have. But clearly, we have a game at the weekend and another game the weekend after, so maybe we can rotate a little bit.

“But we will try our best.”

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