It has been an underwhelming campaign for Chelsea till now. The Blues spent heavily in the last summer transfer window by bringing in several quality players. Besides, they also started the current campaign with a new manager Mauricio Pochettino, hoping to improve from their disastrous 2022-23 season. However, the changes made little difference, with Chelsea struggling to find any sort of consistency. Add to it, they have been extremely unfortunate with injuries.
A lot of Chelsea players have missed the action during different periods in the current season owing to injuries. It also includes some big-name players, which has made it difficult for Pochettino to name a consistent line-up. However, there could be some positive developments, with a potential return for Christopher Nkunku and Malo Gusto soon. “They could be available for Liverpool on Wednesday, maybe. We need to see how they progress in the next few days. We are positive but we will see. They are not going to be available for tomorrow,” Pochettino, quoted on the club’s website, said ahead of their FA Cup fixture against Aston Villa.
Mauricio Pochettino on Ben Chilwell
Meanwhile, their experienced left-back Ben Chilwell has recently returned to action from a lengthy injury layoff during the Carabao Cup win over Middlesbrough. It was his first start since September. Speaking about Chilwell, Pochettino said, “He’s an experienced player and the challenge was from the beginning of pre-season to build his fitness and of course improve not only his offensive face, but his defensive face. That was the challenge for us, to help him be a more complete player.”
He added: “He is an important player of course, if he is fit and can cope with the 90 minutes. But on Tuesday he could not cope because after 10 or 15 minutes of the second half he asked to come off because he needs to build his fitness. Now we have doubts to start with him tomorrow because we are assessing him, if he can cope with another game after three days. It is a massive decision because we want to build his confidence and his fitness, to be consistent enough to play the rest of the season. That is why we are working really hard with the medical staff and the performance analysts to make the best decision.”
The Chelsea manager explained how important it is to listen to the advice of the medical staff before making a decision on Chilwell. “If he cannot start tomorrow he is going to be on the bench and we will see if he can play and help the team in the second half. He’s very optimistic and very positive about always wanting to play, even when he is tired. Now we need to be careful because the player always wants to play, but it’s important to listen to the advice of the professionals in our medical and performance areas. We always work together and listen to the advice. We were thinking maybe to play with him tomorrow from the start, but we need to see if it is sensible,” he elaborated.
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