Thursday, April 18News That Matters

Graham Potter gives Kovacic injury update & rates Pulisic and Sterling as wingbacks

Graham Potter has revealed that Mateo Kovacic picked up a calf niggle in Tuesday’s Champions League win over RB Salzburg, while he was happy with the display of Raheem Sterling and Pulisic.

The west Londoners booked their place in the knockout stages with a 2-1 victory in Austria, with Kovacic putting the visitors ahead with a superb finish in a first half Chelsea dominated.

Salzburg equalised after the restart but Chelsea secured all three points – and passage to the last 16 – courtesy of a brilliant long-range strike from Havertz.

Kovacic, who has been nursing some injury issues throughout the season so far, was subbed off in the 68th minute and looked in some discomfort, though Potter did not seem to think the problem was serious.

Asked if Kovacic is okay after leaving the pitch a little gingerly, Potter told BT Sport: ‘Yeah, he’s just feeling his calf a little bit.

‘It was a heavy pitch, there’s a bit of tightness – hopefully it’s not too bad. It was the same for Mason [Mount], the same for Ruben [Loftus-Cheek], it’s just how it is at this point of the season.’

Potter has faced huge criticism for playing Sterling as a wingback since taking over but continued his experiment against Salzburg, also fielding Pulisic in the right wingback role – though they did switch sides sometimes.

Chelsea overloaded the home side on the flanks, particularly in the first half, and Potter was pleased with what he saw from the two wingers-turned-wingbacks.

Asked how effective he felt Pulisic and Sterling were in their unfamiliar roles, Potter replied: ‘Yeah I thought it was quite good.

‘We got Raheem in some good areas and Christian as well, and the fact they [Salzburg] had to defend in a back four quite wide in big spaces allowed Conor [Gallagher] and Kai to get in.

‘First half I thought we probably could have had another couple of goals, but not easy because of how they defend – they’re so good. But overall really happy with the performance.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

× Click Here To Make Advert Enquiry