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Chelsea: Covid-19 reprieve after Kai Havertz tests negative but Kante and Kovacic may be in at the deep end

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Kai Havertz has tested negative for Covid-19 after fears the German would be the latest to join Chelsea’s coronavirus outbreak.

But the number of absentees in Thomas Tuchel’s squad means N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic could be forced to start against Wolves on Sunday, despite both only just returning from injury.

Havertz was left out of Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Everton after complaining of illness. A subsequent PCR test came back negative and he is back in training – but it is still unclear if the £71million forward will be available for the weekend.

Kovacic has just returned from his isolation, which followed six weeks out with a hamstring injury, while Kante is yet to play since suffering a twisted knee last month. But both could have to play from the start at Wolves, with Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek both doubts.

Tuchel said: “If you want to have my very honest opinion, we have again Jorginho a doubt for Sunday, because he’s in pain. We have Ruben Loftus-Cheek a doubt, because he’s in pain.

“So do we know that they can travel with us? No we don’t. I don’t know if it’s possible for them to play on Sunday.

“So maybe we will start with N’Golo and Mateo. Would that be fair? No. Would that be possible? I don’t know, but maybe we do.”

Tuchel added: “We need to find a balance now because we put everything on Jorginho’s shoulders and on his responsibility. Ruben got injured yesterday, so let’s see.

“Maybe we are forced to do the crazy stuff that we wouldn’t normally do. But what’s normal? We miss key players and we find solutions.”

Chelsea are already without Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who are all out with Covid. Ben Chilwell has also tested positive, but was already sidelined with knee ligament damage.

 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

It was feared that Havertz had also contracted coronavirus, but so far tests have returned negative. Despite the number of absent players, Tuchel has refused to push for Sunday’s game to be postponed.

He said: “I can understand the question, I can understand the point. At the same time, for me I’m sure there are rules and why games are postponed.

“If you postpone one match for Covid, for me it’s just my personal opinion, it must be three matches then, it must be, because the players need to be out for 10 days.

“If we cancelled the Everton game, none of these players can play Wolves and Brentford next. So if you cancel one, you cancel three and maybe then you have another problem.

“So I can understand the decision to protect as many games as possible and still I can also see the point in feeling the privilege to play. And I will not go down this road of blaming or making excuses, we don’t want to go there.

“We prefer to play with all players in. But at the moment it does not make sense for me to reflect whether it’s better to postpone. It’s simply not my decision, it’s from the Premier League.

“If the Premier League makes the decision that this game is postponed we take care about it and we handle the situation. If we say we play, we focus on the guys who are here, and maybe we end up with N’Golo and Mateo Kovacic from the start.”

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