Graham Potter has given the latest on the recent injuries suffered by Christian Pulisic and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, explained how he is trying to get to the bottom of the large number of injuries suffered by the Blues and the challenge facing Chelsea when we face Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.
Graham Potter was talking to the media ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge against Crystal Palace and our head coach was quick to highlight the importance of getting over our midweek loss at Fulham quickly, as well as giving his verdict Patrick Vieira's Palace side.
'We have to recover from the disappointment of Thursday’s game and then we have to assess all the players in terms of recovery and injuries,' said Potter. 'Then we have to try to be positive and move forward and take a home game on. It’s another London derby against a team with dangerous players so we have to be good ourselves and prepare the team.
'I think Patrick’s done a fantastic job since he’s been there. They’ve always got dangerous players. Young players so they’re not maybe as consistent as they would like, but the quality they have with Eze, Olise, Zaha, there’s players there who can travel with the ball well, who can attack, who can eliminate you in one-on-one situations.
'Then I think they’ve improved their build-up phase of the game. The two centre-backs are good with the ball and they’re a competitive team.'
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace injury update
Potter saw another name added to his seemingly ever-growing list of absentees at Craven Cottage on Thursday, as Denis Zakaria was forced off with an injury in the second half. The coach explained that he and his staff at Cobham are doing everything they can to try to prevent more players being ruled out in future.
'Absolutely we’re looking all the time and we’re going over how they’re happening and trying to evaluate the whole thing. Sometimes it’s difficult when you come in during the season to know how things have happened but it’s a bit of bad luck and it’s also a bit of learning for us all, in how we go forward and how we can improve.
'I think the nature of them is not even a pattern, it’s different problems. It’s tricky, it’s not like we’ve been over-training or anything like that, we certainly need to get to the bottom of it though.'
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace Pulisic injury update
Another player who is unavailable due to injury is Christian Pulisic, who went off in last week's Premier League match against Manchester City, and Potter provided the latest on when he might be back in action.
'He’s a couple of months out,' said Potter. 'He’s disappointed but he’s optimistic that he can come back quicker than the two months. So he’s in that phase where he’s just trying to keep his fingers crossed and hope that his rehab goes well.'
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace Aubameyang injury update
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned from his own injury this week but remained an unused substitute against Fulham, although our head coach explained that was purely down to selection and tactics, rather than any fitness concerns over the striker.
'He had a problem with his back after the first game against Manchester City, that’s why he was absent for the FA Cup game against Manchester City and on Thursday we just went with Kai.
'He’s in our squad, he’s an important player for us and I’m pretty sure he can help us going forward.'
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace injury list
Potter revealed earlier this week that Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Reece James, Ben Chilwell and N'Golo Kante are all at various stages of returning to training and getting closer, although the Fulham game was too soon for them to feature.
Raheem Sterling, Wesley Fofana and Armando Broja are also unavailable, while Edouard Mendy remains out after undergoing surgery on a fractured finger. Denis Zakaria is a doubt for this game after going off against Fulham with an injury which is being assessed.
Crystal Palace will likely be without James McArthur and Nathan Ferguson, who both only recently started individual training after long-term injuries which have kept them out all season.
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace suspension
The Blues will also be without January loan signing Joao Felix for three matches after the Portuguese forward was sent off for a high challenge against Fulham, with Potter feeling he has already shown enough promise for his presence to be missed.
'Of course I’m disappointed because he came here to play. You saw his quality when he was on the pitch against Fulham and then to lose him for three games is a real blow for us. But there’s nothing we can do now, we just have to deal with it.'
Crystal Palace will have Tyrick Mitchell available again after serving his own suspension for a red card.
As Sunday is the halfway mark of the Premier League season for the Blues, no Chelsea player can now be suspended for reaching five yellow cards. Players who accumulate 10 yellow cards in Premier League matches up to and including our 32nd fixture will serve a two-match suspension in the competition.
Chelsea Premier League booking list
Azpilicueta 3, Havertz 3, James 3, Jorginho 3, Koulibaly 3, Kovacic 3, Mount 3, R Sterling 3, Chalobah 2, Cucurella 2, Gallagher 2, Aubameyang 1, Chilwell 1, Hall 1, Loftus-Cheek 1, Mendy 1, Pulisic 1, Thiago Silva 1
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace referee and VAR
Referee: Peter Bankes
VAR: Michael Salisbury
Peter Bankes will referee Chelsea for the second time this month. He was the official for our game at Nottingham Forest on New Year’s Day, his only previous Blues game this season.