Chelsea entered the pitch against AFC Bournemouth last weekend missing an entire set of outfield players plus two potential subs due to injuries and illness. Revisionism from some fans might make us think these issues began with the current ownership but we can very well remember Frank Lampard’s days when we missed more than five players from the pitch each week and didn’t make a fuss like Pep Guardiola.
But as time goes by, more players come close to recovery. Ahead of our Aston Villa match at Stamford Bridge for the Premier League next Sunday, manager Mauricio Pochettino provided some news on Moisés Caicedo, Marc Cucurella, Noni Madueke and Armando Broja with only the first in the list doubtful in terms of availability for the upcoming affair.
“We need to recover players. It is important that many names and players start to be available to be involved in the game.
“We need to assess Moi tomorrow. He was training individually, not with the team today. We need to assess tomorrow and we will see if he can be involved on Sunday.
“Marc suffered a fever but has been back since when we restarted the training this week. Noni was involved also during the week in training, so I think yes he will be ready. Maybe we need one day more for Broja. I think maybe he can be involved Sunday, but we are not sure. We need to assess him tomorrow.”
Broja’s name is perhaps the most noticeable in the list since the 22-year-old striker has been out of contention since December last year due to an ACL rupture. Considering how long he’s been out of the pitch, Poch has measured expectations on his overall recovery and eventual return in terms of output for the team.
“It’s the same situation we can maybe talk about with many different players. Broja arrives and maybe he will be involved at the weekend but it is after nine months that he has not been competing. We cannot put the responsibility on him.
“Always the responsibility must be on the team, the collective effort. It’s not only the offensive players who need to score, all the players involved in the team need to try to score. We cannot expect that Broja arrives and, if he has the possibility to play, he is going to score with every single touch.
“He needs time also to feel the competition and start to perform in the way that we expect that he can perform.”
While most players advanced in their path to recovery, defender Benoît Badiashile was unfortunately the one who had a minor setback as confirmed by Pochettino today in his press conference. According to the head coach Badiashile is training individually just like Reece James, Carney Chukwuemeka and Trevoh Chalobah, whom are all expected to join collective training soon.
The lack of midweek European football was admittedly a blessing for us in terms of recovering these players. We can only hope the increased speed in recovery timelines will lead to us returning to continental matches by getting better results domestically.
“I think for us it’s about recovering players from injuries and the players who were out in the international break. In these circumstances for us it is good to have time to work. It was a very good week, we worked really hard with the players that we have and then time to recover players. If you are involved in European competition it’s difficult.
“For the fans of course it is difficult because normally Chelsea is a club that is involved in the European competitions, but at the moment we are not. I think we need to take advantage of the situation.”
-Mauricio Pochettino; Source: Chelsea FC