ndreas Christensen will miss the Premier League clash between Chelsea and Manchester City on Sunday after testing positive for Covid-19.
It means Malang Sarr enters a back three with at least Thiago Silva available after recovering from his own Covid fight and coming on as a substitute against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday.
The return of starting N’Golo Kante is another boost for Chelsea, who have been hit hard by injuries and Covid this season.
“The biggest difference so far in the season as far as I’m concerned is that they’ve handled the injuries and the Covid situation better,” he said.
“Maybe it’s luck, maybe they do it better, whatever, but they have fewer injuries from key players, fewer absent players and fewer weeks they miss them. And they did not suffer from the Covid like we did for many weeks.
“So that’s a huge difference. Because we had draws in the season that were unnecessary, and if you have the full squad you create a certain atmosphere that pushes everyone to their limits.
“And you have to be at the forefront and at the highest level if you want to compete with Man City.
“They are the benchmark, they are the best team in England at the moment. That is something we have to realistically admit.
Chelsea XI: Kepa; Sarr, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso; Pulisic, Lukaku, Ziyech.
Subtitles: Bettinelli, Jorginho, Saul, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Mount, Barkley, Havertz, Werner.