To get news directly on the go, download the Real Chelsea Fans App.
Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic has been forced to withdraw from the Croatia squad due to an Achilles injury, according to Daily Mail.
The 25 year old has been an important player for Frank Lampard this season, starting in all but one of Chelsea’s five matches in all competitions this season.
Kovacic reportedly inflamed an Achilles tendon in his right leg during the match against Sheffield United and he has now been replaced by Mijo Caktas in the Croatian squad.
Kovacic played 83 minutes of Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Sheffield United on Saturday before he was replaced by Michy Batshuayi.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was criticised for withdrawing Kovacic at the weekend against Sheffield United with the visitors scoring the equaliser some minutes later but Lampard defended his decision, insisting the midfielder was tired.
The news of Kovacic’s injury will be a big blow to Lampard as the Blues currently have several players on the treatment table.
World Cup runners-up, Croatia, face Slovakia and Azerbaijan this week as they bid to strengthen their bid to reach next year’s European Championship. They are third in Group E behind leaders Hungary and Slovakia after picking up six points from their first three games of qualifying so far.