Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that he will be without new striker Romelu Lukaku and midfielder Hakim Ziyech for Saturday’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace, while there are also concerns over the fitness of N’Golo Kante.
The Blues had hoped to finalise the £97.5m signing of Lukaku earlier in the week but ran into a handful of delays that pushed the confirmation back until Thursday.
Having only arrived in London on Wednesday, Lukaku must undergo a quarantine period before being allowed to train with his new teammates and will therefore be unavailable for Saturday’s game.
“We’ve had some exchanges on the phone, exchanges of messages, but right now he is following the protocol and quarantining some more days,” Tuchel told his pre-match press conference. “We will work on the details and we will be very happy when he is on the pitch.”
Lukaku is not the only Chelsea star to be sidelined for this one, as Ziyech will also miss the game as a result of the nasty shoulder injury he picked up after scoring in the Super Cup victory. Fortunately, Tuchel confirmed Ziyech will not need surgery to speed up his recovery.
“The decision has been made to treat the injury conservatively,” Tuchel said. “At the moment, we don’t need surgery, which is very good news for this kind of problem, and we hope that it continues like this and he can be back on the pitch in the next two weeks.”
Finally, Tuchel also confirmed Kante could end up missing the game after picking up a problem during the Super Cup victory.
“We have some issues with Kante which we need to sort out,” the boss continued. “Physically, [going to extra-time] was the worst thing that could have happened to us in the shape that we are in right now.
“Mentally and psychologically, it was the best thing because winning a penalty shoot-out gives you an enormous boost of positive energy.
“We have to be careful [against Palace]. The decisions on who stars have not been made. The recommendations for some players are still 60 or 70 minutes, so who do we push over the line to do another 90? We will take our time, talk to players and the physio department and make the decision in the morning.”