Mauricio Pochettino giving special training to Sterling, Silva among nine Chelsea players

Mauricio Pochettino giving special training to Sterling, Silva among nine Chelsea players

Chelsea head into the international break on the back of booking their place in the FA Cup semi-final. The Blues beat Leicester City 4-2 on Sunday, giving Mauricio Pochettino the chance to visit Wembley Stadium for a second time this season.

The west Londoners, however, have had a poor season in the Premier League, with the side 11th in the table. There is still hope of finishing in a European spot and Pochettino believes his side can improve in the final few months of the season.

“I think we are in a good way even if yes, disappointed with the position on the table on Premier League,” the Argentine said after the win over Leicester. “But I think I really believe that we can move, move forward.”

Many of Chelsea’s stars have jetted off to different parts of the world to play for their countries during the March international break. There are a number of players who have remained at Cobham, however.

Robert Sanchez is one of the stars training at the club’s Surrey training base this week. With Djordje Petrovic called up by Serbia, it is perhaps a good chance for Sanchez to try and impress Pochettino, who has preferred Petrovic in the Chelsea net in recent months. Marcus Bettinelli is the other goalkeeper sticking around at Cobham for the next week and a bit.

When it comes to outfield players, Thiago Silva has not been called up to the Brazil squad. The veteran hasn’t joined up with Brazil since manager Tite quit after the 2022 World Cup and will want to regain his place in the Blues starting lineup come the end of the month, when Chelsea host Burnley.

Trevoh Chalobah will be hoping to impress Pochettino further after starting the past four matches, while Axel Disasi was overlooked by France manager Didier Deschamps for friendlies against Germany and Chile. Ibrahima Konate, Jules Kounde, William Saliba and Dayot Upamecano were all preferred and Disasi will instead watch from afar.

Benoit Badiashile was also overlooked by Deschamps while Alfie Gilchrist is another who will have the opportunity to try and catch Pochettino’s eye. The 20-year-old last featured for the first team on February 28, playing 74 minutes against Leeds United in the FA Cup quarter-final.

Youngster Deivid Washington has been playing regularly for Chelsea U21s recently in Premier League 2 but will remain with the first team group over the international break. Joining from Brazilian side Santos in August 2023, Washington is unlikely to feature much between now and the end of May but he was very much signed for the future.

The last and perhaps most high profile name to remain at Cobham is Raheem Sterling. The 29-year-old has not played for England since the 2022 World Cup quarter-final defeat to France and Gareth Southgate appears intent on giving other players a chance. After a poor performance vs Leicester, where he missed a penalty and blazed a free kick in a good position high over the bar, a short break could do Sterling wonders. Pochettino will likely want to work closely with Sterling over the coming week as he bids to get the best out of the former Manchester City and Liverpool man.

Marc Cucurella had been due to train at Cobham with his teammates but was called up to the Spain squad as a late replacement for the injured Jose Gaya. The 25-year-old scored his first goal for the Blues against Leicester and will be hoping to add to his one Spain cap in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Lesley Ugochukwu, Christopher Nkunku, Levi Colwill and Romeo Lavia will continue their recovery and rehabilitation programmes, with the hope of featuring some point in the future.

The players staying at Cobham and not injured were given a day off on Monday but were back in on Tuesday to undertake recovery work and training. Sessions will continue in the days ahead and activities will ramp up next week ahead of the Blues’ fixture against Burnley on Saturday, March 30.

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