LONDON (AP) — Chelsea’s striker crisis is starting to ease.
Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner are back in training and expected to return soon, though the English Premier League game at Leicester on Saturday is too soon.
Lukaku, who was Chelsea’s record signing in August, and Werner have been out since sustaining injuries in the 4-0 victory over Malmo in the Champions League one month ago.
Werner has rejoined team training for the Premier League leaders after his hamstring injury and appears closer to a return than the Belgium international, who has been doing individual sessions after recovering from an ankle injury.
“Romelu is very close to team training, so hopefully he will join in the squad on Sunday,” manager Thomas Tuchel said on Friday at a pre-match news conference. “He’s pushing hard and trying to come back as soon as possible. We will try on Sunday.”
Juventus visits Stamford Bridge on Tuesday for a Champions League match followed by Manchester United on Sunday in a league game.
“If everything works out perfectly, if he is in training on Sunday and then on Monday, OK he can maybe join the group on the bench,” Tuchel said of Lukaku possibly suiting up against Juventus. “But there are a lot of ifs, and I don’t want to put pressure on him. He’s putting a lot of pressure on himself and we will not rush things.”
Germany international Werner has a shot at playing against 12th-placed Leicester. He trained with the team on Thursday and was expected to do the same on Friday.
“Then we will decide if it makes sense that he’s maybe even in the squad or on the bench,” Tuchel said.
Lukaku has four goals in 11 appearances across all competitions and Werner has two in 10.
Oft-injured United States winger Christian Pulisic made two substitute appearances on international duty and “feels fine,” Tuchel said. Pulisic injured an ankle during the previous international break.
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