Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says Romelu Lukaku will not feature in Chelsea’s Premier League trip to Leicester on Saturday but is “very close” to returning from injury.
Saturday will mark a full month since Lukaku injured his ankle during a Champions League game against Malmo, in what was his 11th appearance of the season after re-joining Chelsea in a club-record £97.5m deal over the summer.
Tuchel said Lukaku could return for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Juventus or next weekend’s Premier League meeting with Manchester United.
“Romelu is very close to team training, so hopefully he will join the squad on Sunday – let’s see how this works out,” Tuchel said on Friday.
“He’s pushing hard and trying hard to come back as soon as possible and we will try on Sunday.
“If everything works out perfectly, if he is in training on Sunday and then on Monday he can maybe join the group on the bench (against Juventus).
“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 and we will not rush things.”
Chelsea initially coped well with Lukaku’s absence, delivering emphatic victories over Norwich and Newcastle, but a draw at home to Burnley in their final game before the international break highlighted the striker’s absence.