Pochettino worried about Christopher Nkunku injury as four Chelsea stars return
Mauricio Pochettino has ruled Christopher Nkunku out of Chelsea’s clash with Fulham and is ‘a little bit worried’ about the forward, though four other injured players are back in contention.
After missing the early months of the season with a knee injury, Nkunku returned to action last month only to pick up a hip problem against Luton which saw him miss both the FA Cup win over Preston and Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg loss to Middlesbrough.
The Frenchman is still unable to train ahead of Saturday’s west London derby, though four other players – Ben Chilwell, Benoit Badiashile, Carney Chukwuemeka and Trevoh Chalobah – are nearing returns.
‘Good news about Benoit and Chilwell and we need to assess Carney Chukwuemeka if he will be available or not,’ said Pochettino at his pre-match press conference on Friday when asked for his latest team news.
‘But Chilly and Benoit, Chilly yes, for sure they will be involved in the squad for tomorrow.
‘And then also the good news is that Trevoh Chalobah has joined the team and has started to work with the group and now we need to assess day-by-day and see if he can help us as soon as possible.
‘But he’s doing well and it’s a good thing that Trevoh is training now with the team, rejoined the team.
‘Always when you recover players, important players, it’s important that they can be involved.
‘But I’m worried a little bit about the situation of Nkunku because still now I think it’s 10 days that he cannot train and we are assessing him.
‘We don’t know what is going to happen. A little bit worried about the situation of Nkunku but I think it’s good news in another side [of the coin] that players like Chalobah, Chilwell, Badiashile and Chukwuemeka are so close to being involved again and to help the team to perform.’
Asked if Nkunku’s setback was worse than originally feared, Pochettino continued: ‘I remember my first press conference after he suffered a small issue and then all was complicated.
‘And now I think it’s nearly 10 days that he is not training, eight or 10, and of course after six months that we were wating for him and now when he was so close again to feeling comfortable, he started against Palace.
‘And of course disappointed with that and a little bit worried because I think we want him as soon as possible to be involved again.’