Chelsea have less than 72 hours between games, from Wednesday night to Saturday afternoon, as we take on the Premier League’s lowest scoring team, Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Bridge tomorrow. That’s barely enough time to fully recover, which could mean a decent amount of rotation from head coach Graham Potter.
Fortunately, most everybody is fit and available, save for Wesley Fofana and N’Golo Kanté. The former’s injury has been confirmed as “just” a knee strain (so four weeks instead of the rest of the season) while the latter continues to progress slowly from his hamstring strain.
“Wesley is not as bad as we thought so that’s good, after the game of course we were concerned. It will be a few weeks I think but considerably better than it could be but we’ll miss him for a few weeks. [We] don’t want to put too much of a timescale on it, but there’s a chance [he plays before the World Cup].”
“[Kanté] is doing more and more integration with the team. Still not ready for the weekend but getting closer. [...] There’s nothing we can do, the injury happened and now it’s about trying to get him back fit and get him ready as we can so he can sustain a period of play. He’s been a bit in and out with injuries over a period of time, so we have to make sure when he’s back, he’s back for good. Strong and enjoying his football.”
We’ve had a bit more enjoyment in our football over the past week, winning back-to-back games for the first time all season — for the first time since mid-April in fact.
The trick now will be to maintain that momentum and build on that confidence, all the while managing minutes, egos, and fitness. That sometimes can be the toughest part of the job, but Potter’s hoping to set the team up for success through flexibility, which should make finding the right balance, and doing so consistently, a bit easier.
“We’ve made a little bit of progress in terms of from the first day to now, as you expect and hope. There’s a long way to go. [We] want to keep moving forward and I’m so far happy with the progress that the team has made.
“[You] always consider the opponent, you consider the players that we have [...] I think it’s important to have a couple of options because the personnel won’t be the same for the next 10 or 11 games before the World Cup break. It’s a really intense period where it’s important to have some options. I think we have to manage the balance between change and consistency. If things happen to be inconsistent always it can be destabilising.
“[...]To win the game against Wolves, we have to make sure everyone is recovered properly and pick the players we think will give us the best chance to win.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London
Onwards and upwards!