Monday, January 30, 2023

Mateo Kovacic confirms Graham Potter Chelsea concerns ahead of Premier League return

Mateo Kovacic confirms Graham Potter Chelsea concerns ahead of Premier League return

This season, Mateo Kovacic has already played 26 matches and will play another on Saturday afternoon.

After being eliminated from World Cup contention by Argentina, Croatia will face Morocco in an attempt to capture the title of third-best team in the world.

Despite suffering from an injury issue throughout preseason, the Chelsea midfielder has persevered through a 2022/23 domestic schedule that has been compacted to accommodate an international competition.

Since then, Kovacic has fought with a knee injury, which has been handled throughout the season despite the fact that the 28-year-old has missed few games.

The former Inter Milan and Real Madrid star has spoken candidly about his condition and that of his colleagues. Graham Potter anticipated but is upset to hear this information.

Speaking ahead of this side’s third place play-off, he said: “We are exhausted, many of us will be exhausted when we come back to our clubs but this is what we love and we will come back, rest and then focus on the next six months for our clubs.”

All clubs will have to cope with this issue, and while Chelsea have already welcomed back Cesar Azpilicueta, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Edouardo Mendy, the Blues’ England stars who reached the quarterfinals of the competition have not yet returned to Cobham.

Under Potter, those participating at the World Cup have received approximately one week off before returning to work. Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech, who have been a part of Morocco’s campaign thus far, would return to Stamford Bridge just days before Chelsea’s match against Bournemouth.

Regardless of a team’s performance, this short turnaround was a concern for Potter in November, since the mental toll of competition was just as concerning as the physical.

Potter said: “I could be selfish [and ask them to come back]. That’s the challenge of having the World Cup in the middle because the alternative is that you don’t go and celebrate despite winning the World Cup, and you are back here in training.

“Even then, it will be difficult because they’ve just played a game, whatever the date is, and then they’ve got to recover. Emotionally, how long does it take to recover from a World Cup final? It could take weeks. They might be on open-top buses here, there and everywhere. And then they need a three-week holiday to get over that celebration. Of course, we are English, so it has been a long time since we’ve known about that.

“Who is going to be in the final? Hopefully England from our perspective, but who knows? On that point, if you’ve lost the World Cup final. How long does it take to get over that? Probably not three or four days.”

Only two of Chelsea’s players appeared in the semifinals and none in the final. This will have been advantageous for the Blues, particularly given the players involved can still consider their seasons successful despite defeat.

Kovacic added: “All of the others joked that Ziyech and me would come home first… and here we are almost at the end of the World Cup. Both of us are very proud of what our national teams have achieved.”

Mateo Kovacic confirms Graham Potter Chelsea concerns ahead of Premier League return

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