Graham Potter has confirmed he has no fresh injury concerns ahead of our trip to Brentford, and the boss has also discussed Thiago Silva’s chances of playing and explained why Denis Zakaria is yet to feature for the Blues.
The head coach was speaking at his press conference to preview our trip to the Gtech Community Stadium, the third of three consecutive away games one of our most local.
Brentford vs Chelsea injury update
When asked if anyone had picked up a knock in the Villa, Potter had good news to report.
‘It’s as we were, no problems from the weekend,’ he said. That leaves Reece James, N’Golo Kante and Wesley Fofana as definite Chelsea absentees against the Bees.
Of course, playing twice in the space of four days takes it toll, and a couple of the journalists present wanted to know how the head coach would decide whether Thiago Silva would be okay to start again.
‘No problems injury wise, it’s just the recovery,’ Potter underlined.
‘24, 48 hours, we need to make sure the recovery is right for him. I have to involve him in the conversations because he’s 38 years old. He’s a man, he knows himself better than I do.
‘He’s a really important person and player for us. We have to manage him correctly, and he has to be involved in that process.’
Denis Zakaria update
The only outfielder yet to feature under Potter bar the injured Kante is Denis Zakaria. The Swiss international, on loan from Juventus, is still awaiting his Chelsea debut having signed on transfer deadline day.
Media reports have suggested the loan move could be cut short in January because of his lack of minutes, and Potter was asked for an update.
‘No decision has been made at all,’ he said.
‘Denis has been in the group. He’s been training well, he’s ready to help the team. Obviously there is competition for places in that area, but there’s no talk of anything.
‘He’s an important member of the team. He’s being patient. He’s trying to help the team from the side at the moment, and waiting for his chance.’
Kepa vs Mendy for no.1
One of the stars of the show at Villa Park was Kepa, who produced possibly his best performance in a Chelsea shirt to keep the Villans at bay.
It came a year to the day after Edouard Mendy had done likewise at Brentford in last season’s corresponding fixture, and it was put to Potter that Kepa is now his number one goalkeeper.
‘It’s better to let football decide,’ said Potter, who went on to praise the environment his keeper coach Ben Roberts had created since arriving at Cobham.
‘Kepa has done really well. He’s been supported fantastically by Edou and Betts. They provide good competition.
‘Kepa’s form is really pleasing for everybody, especially him, so it’s nice we have competition in that area. That’s how you get players better.
‘Players want to play and contribute, and Kepa is doing that,’ added Potter.
‘It’s brilliant for him. It’s a nice example for everybody that somebody it doesn’t go your way, you have to suffer in life sometimes, and things aren’t ideal, but I’ve been really impressed with his character, his personality.
‘He’s very professional, understands the game really well, takes responsibility. It’s nice when those types of people get the rewards.’
Brentford vs Chelsea injury list
It was confirmed on Saturday evening that Reece James would be out for eight weeks. Potter had this to say about it after the win at Aston Villa.
'In terms of his involvement in the World Cup I don’t know, it depends on how he recovers. I’m pretty sure he’ll give everything but he’s in a brace for probably four weeks so that’s thrown in a bit of doubt. The boys had a couple of days free, it was important, especially for the international players to get a bit of a break when they can.
'Reece felt a bit of discomfort the following day so came home to be assessed. Nothing has got any worse, so now we have to support him in getting fit and strong.'
Wesley Fofana remains out with the knee injury he suffered against AC Milan, and N'Golo Kante suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury so remains unavailable.
Brentford are missing their skipper Pontus Jansson, Christian Norgaard, Charlie Goode and Thomas Strakosha.