Chelsea receive timely double fitness boost despite Romelu Lukaku blow ahead of Leicester clash

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Chelsea receive timely double fitness boost despite Romelu Lukaku blow ahead of Leicester clash
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Romelu Lukaku has been ruled out of Chelsea’s game against Leicester tomorrow after failing to recover from an injury in time for the lunchtime kick-off.

The Belgium international now faces a race to be fit for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Juventus and even Manchester United next weekend.

But Thomas Tuchel has been boosted by the potential return of Mason Mount and Timo Werner, who are both in contention to play at the King Power.

A final decision on both will be taken later today after one last training session this afternoon at Cobham.

Lukaku has returned to training this week, but Tuchel is determined not to rush his recovery.

The Chelsea manager said: “Romelu is very close to team training, so hopefully he will join the squad on Sunday, let’s see how this works out. He’s pushing hard to try to come back as soon as possible, and we will try on Sunday.

“If everything works out perfectly and he is in team training on Sunday, then on Monday he can maybe join the group on the bench.

“But there are a lot of ‘ifs’, and I don’t want to put pressure on him. He’s putting a lot of pressure on himself.

“We will not rush things, we will take things seriously as always, we will have lots of talks with the doctors and the physios before we make any decisions.

“If there is something to be decided it’s good, and if so, it will be decided on Monday.”

Lukaku has not played since damaging his ankle against Malmo on October 22. Even before that, Tuchel had been concerned about mental and physical fatigue for the striker after his involvement in the World Cup and a heavy fixture load for Inter Milan last season.

It had shown in his performances, with the 28-year-old failing to score in his last seven appearances for Chelsea.

Mateo Kovacic is also out as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

But the potential return of Werner and Mount is good news for Tuchel, who has had to cope with a host of injuries in attacking areas.

Tuchel added: “Timo has been in team training since yesterday, so let’s see. We have another training [session] and then we will decide if it makes sense to be in the squad or on the bench.

“I’m confident that Mason is back in training, looking hungry, fresh and in good spirits, but we need to evaluate.

“He did this week’s training sessions, looks good, but we need to see if he can start, if he can play 90 minutes.”

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

Chelsea can move six points clear at the top with a win tomorrow, with West Ham and Liverpool not playing until later in the day and Manchester City in action on Sunday.

Most encouraging for Tuchel has been the manner in which his side have coped without Lukaku and Werner.

They are undefeated since September 29 and won three of their four Premier League games without the strike pair to lead the way going into the last international break.

But Tuchel refuses to get carried away with their position at this stage of the season.

He said: “We are in a club that wants to be in the middle of title races.

“Nobody expected the race to be decided in November and so it is good news if we are here in it, but it is November, there is such a long way to go it does not help if we speak too much about it.

“We have to find consistency like Liverpool and Man City have proved and this is on us to prove we are capable of doing the same thing., But yeah, we want to be in the middle of it.”

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