Nkunku and Pochettino’s international break progress summarized in one sentence
The international break is well underway and Chelsea entered into it in good spirts following their draw against Manchester City. The Blues sit tenth in the Premier League but started to find some momentum ahead of the Premier League’s pause with a victory over Tottenham preceding that back and forth clash with the Citizens.
Unfortunately for Mauricio Pochettino, he has been forced to wait to harness the energy in his squad, with only a smaller group at his disposal as Chelsea’s stars jet around the glob to represent their nations. Though it has allowed more time for the likes of Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia to build their fitness ahead of an intense festive period.
Pochettino revealed ahead of the break: “We had some conversation and he [Nkunku] said to me, ‘Coach, I want to be ready for after international break, Newcastle’. I asked him yesterday and he said ‘hmmm’, and I said ‘you are liar’. ‘No, no I am ready’.
“It is close and he is doing really well. We are so happy with him, the way he is recovering, he is very professional. Romeo Lavia is also close. They trained today on the pitch. Hope that next week will be involved with the team and see after. Day by day see when it is possible to play with the team.”
football.london looks at what Chelsea’s players have been up to so far in the break.
Mauricio Pochettino makes a new friend
It’s not rare for expertise to be shared between elite sporting institutions or for other teams to make use of Cobham. Little under 12 months ago, New Zealand’s rugby team joined John Terry and some of Chelsea’s academy at their Cobham training base.
in this instance former NBA champions Sean Marks, who is now general manager and alternate owner of Brooklyn Nets, met Mauricio Pochettino. The Blues boss received a signed basketball from the New Zealand-born executive.
Sticking around Cobham
The Blues have still been putting the work in at Cobham and taking to the Chelsea training pitches. Marcus Bettinelli, who is yet to be in a Chelsea squad this season, featured in released images alongside the likes of Reece James, Benoit Badiashile, Robert Sanchez, Raheem Sterling, Marc Cucurella and Armando Broja.
Other stars have made their activity clear on social media too with Trevoh Chalobah posting to his Instagram story an image of a cardiovascular workout in his Blues training kit as he continues his rehabilitation.
Following Pochettino’s Nkunku update, the Frenchman has spent the international break thus far, teasing his return to action and celebrating his 26th birthday too. In recognition of the latter the former RB Leipzig star took to X, formerly Twitter.
He said: “Thank you all for your messages *praying emoji* *birthday cake emoji* big love *red love heart*. See you soon *fingers crossed emoji* *red balloon emoji*.” A message that came just two days after posting posting an hourglass on the same platform.
Thiago Silva’s travels
The 39-year-old appears to have taken some time off having departed Stamford Bridge on Sunday and travelled to Brazil. Silva has nevertheless been putting in individual gym work in addition to enjoying his time too.
The former AC Milan and PSG defender has admired beach volleyball courts and taken in live music from Batuk D Gueto, in what looked an intimate affair with family and friends., as he spent time in Mangaratiba. The veteran even spent some of the evening singing along with the group following their performance.
Chelsea have not seen too much international invovlment thus far in the break as Djordje Petrovic watched on from the bench as his Serbia side lost to Belgium. Romelu Lukaku, currently on loan at Roma, was rested completely for the game.
Cole Palmer received his first senior call-up for England following his crucial stoppage time penalty against Manchester City. The 21-year-old looks to have taken to the environment with ease as he took some time to embarrass Kyle Walker, by teasing him during the rondo and pulling out an impressive flick to avoid the City star.
He, along with Conor Gallagher will be in contetion to face Malta on Friday night, after Levi Colwill was released due to a shoulder injury. Noni Madueke, Axel Disasi, Nicolas Jackson are not in action until Saturday, while Mykhailo Mudryk’s Ukraine do not compete until Monday.
Ian Maatsen could feature for Netherlands under-21 side this evening against Gibraltar, Enzo Fernandez will looked to be involved for Argentinua vs Uruguay, Moises Caicedo against Venezuela on Thursday evening too. Lesley Ugochukwu could feature for France’s under-21s on Friday evening against Austria.