Mateo Kovacic laughed in the face of taunts from Leeds fans as he left the pitch during Chelsea’s 3-0 win at Leeds.
The midfielder limped off with an injury and is expected to miss Saturday’s FA Cup final following Dan James’ reckless challenge in Premier League match.
The Blues midfielder was forced off after just 30 minutes as James was shown a straight red for his tackle.
It was a routine victory for Chelsea to put Leeds further in relegation trouble with goals coming from Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Romelu Lukaku.
But boss Thomas Tuchel said the satisfaction of his side’s timely return to form before they face Liverpool at Wembley had been tempered by Kovacic’s likely absence.
Tuchel, whose side halted a three-game winless run to move four points clear of Arsenal in third place, said: “He has a swollen ankle and is in a lot of pain.
“For me, like I say, I’m not a doctor and we need to wait for the examinations, but’s very unlikely that he can play. It’s absolutely bad news for us on our perfect evening.
“If he misses it I’m very disappointed because he was a clear starter.”
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James is the second Leeds player to be shown a straight red card for a rash challenge in as many matches following team-mate Luke Ayling’s dismissal in Sunday’s defeat at Arsenal.
“I did not see the challenge live, I was focused on something else,” Tuchel said. “I saw it from a distance on the iPad and I’m not good at looking at these situations because it hurts me physically to watch it.”
Former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor labelled James’ tackle ‘shocking’ and said he deserved a red.
“The tackle from Dan James was shocking. It could have broken Kovacic’s leg. It was a shocking tackle and deserved a red card.
“Surely when he [Jesse Marsch] is speaking to his players before the game he’s saying ‘keep 11 players on the field, no silly tackles’.
“It was a bad tackle from James and he was deservedly sent off.”
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