Chelsea have received a big boost ahead of their Champions League clash against Juventus with the news that their opponents will be missing two key players.
The Blues travel to Turin to face the Italian giants on Wednesday in what looks on paper to be their toughest fixture in Group H.
Thomas Tuchel’s side won their opening game in Europe 1-0 against Zenit Saint Petersburg earlier this month.
But they suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday as they were defeated 1-0 at Stamford Bridge by Manchester City in a big blow to their title aspirations.
Although Chelsea’s priority may well be topping the Premier League this season, they would still dearly love to win a second Champions League in a row.
And they have been handed an advantage to their hopes of beating Juve after both Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala picked up knocks in the Old Lady’s 3-2 win against Sampdoria at the weekend.
Spanish striker Morata – who had an underwhelming spell at Chelsea between 2017-19 – was taken off with ten minutes to go after signalling that he had an issue with his hamstring.
And after opening the scoring Argentinean playmaker Dybala had to be replaced just 22 minutes in and left the pitch in tears with what looked to be a muscular problem.
Following the full-time whistle Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri confirmed that neither player would feature against the Blues.
“Dybala and Morata certainly won’t play against Chelsea or Torino. That is for definite,” he said.
“We can only hope that we get them back after the break for international duty. This is part of the game and we have to keep going.”
It remains to be seen who Allegri calls on to replace the duo, but their absence may well improve the mood of Tuchel, who bemoaned his side’s lack of belief after the loss to City.
The German manager said: “We don’t care against who we play, we do our thing and we need to be better.
“It’s about making opponents underperform. City did this to us, they had high ball wins. We talked about the high pressing but with our decision-making I never felt fully confident we would escape the pressure with short passes. I never felt fully confident when we decided to go for long balls.
“We have Romelu upfront who we can put long balls into, but without that genuine belief and confidence, and also without the moments where you really hurt your opponent, it gets more and more difficult, and this is how the game went on Saturday.
“When we escaped the pressure, which was hard enough, we took bad decisions in playing into our strikers. When we played it into our strikers, they took bad decisions in the first contact and lost the ball.
“So you lose more and more belief and it was simply not a good enough performance to deserve more.”