Jorginho to play through pain of an ongoing back problem when Chelsea face Leeds

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Jorginho will play through the pain of an ongoing back problem to ease Chelsea’s midfield injury crisis in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Leeds.

The Italy star missed Wednesday’s 3-3 Champions League draw at Zenit St Petersburg due to continued back trouble but will grit his teeth at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

N’Golo Kante remains sidelined with a knee problem, while Mateo Kovacic must continue isolating after testing positive for Covid-19.

West Ham United v Chelsea – Premier League – London Stadium
Thomas Tuchel, pictured, has praised Jorginho for playing through an existing injury to help Chelsea (Adam Davy/PA)

“Jorginho completed the last two training sessions,” said Tuchel. “And I think he will do again what he did in the last few games he has played – play through the pain and do what’s needed to be on the pitch.”

Trevoh Chalobah remains out of action due to a hamstring injury, with Ben Chilwell a longer-term absentee due to knee ligament damage.

Reece James deputised in defensive midfield in Russia, with Saul Niguez trialled at left wing-back as Tuchel took a rare chance to experiment, with knockout qualification secured in advance of the Zenit clash.

Blues boss Tuchel confirmed, however, that Jorginho’s availability will allow England star James the chance to shift back to his regular right wing-back role.

“Reecey will start as a wing-back, and we will find other formations elsewhere,” said Tuchel. “If something should happen to Jorgi for example at the hotel before tomorrow then we would need a solution, so we wanted to see Reece there in real life and to try Saul in a new position as well.

“But there’s no need tomorrow to try these things.”

Chelsea have won just three of their last seven matches in all competitions, conceding the lead in both the Premier League and Champions League Group H standings.

A frustrated Tuchel insisted tweaking small details can yield big differences – but also admitted Chelsea cannot ignore their recent sticky patch.

“Let’s be honest, if you have the lead four times in two matches and you escape with one point and six goals conceded, it’s not the moment to look away and pretend nothing’s happening,” said Tuchel.

“It is happening, and I think it’s still a matter of details, still a matter of small things, and not to worry about the big picture.

“There are reasons for it, of course, we played in Zenit without any central midfielders who are used to playing there.

“The same a bit for Watford and from here we go, but still you can also find arguments for why it’s like this but in the end we are not happy.

“The performances are not horrible, the performances are not bad.

“They are in some moments average, and average looks kind of horrible when you play and work for Chelsea.

“This can happen, and it’s good that it feels like this because we want to compete on the highest level.

“I have the feeling we dropped from good performances to normal, average performances when we lead. This is very unusual for us and this should not become common.

“We’ve learned now, hopefully, twice from experience, and we have the chance to prove it now tomorrow.”

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