Mauricio Pochettino insists he will be fielding the strongest team possible in tonight’s Carabao Cup quarter-final, and confirmed no timescale has been set for goalkeeper Robert Sanchez's recovery from a knee injury.

Chelsea host Newcastle at Stamford Bridge tonight with a place in the Carabao Cup semi-finals on offer for the winner, and Pochettino is eager for that team in the last four to be the Blues as he eyes a great opportunity for silverware.

If we are to emerge victorious against the Magpies then we will need to do so without our most experienced goalkeeper again, though. Robert Sanchez was forced off with an injury at Everton and missed Saturday’s win over Sheffield United, with Djordje Petrovic deputising on both occasions.

‘It’s an injury that is going to be for a few weeks, but I don’t know if it’s two, three, four, five or six,’ confirmed Pochettino. ‘We are going to assess day-by-day; there are things that we need to follow.

‘His recovery will depend on him and the reaction from his knee. So it’s difficult to say it will be two or three weeks. We will see. We hope he will be back as soon as possible.’

However, while Sanchez is one of several members of the squad who won’t be involved due to injury, Pochettino insists that he will be picking the best team possible from the players who are available to him when we face Newcastle later.

That was in response to the suggestion that some people might consider the Carabao Cup as a less important competition or refer to it as a “Mickey Mouse” trophy, but those kind of thoughts are far from Mauricio’s mind and, he is sure, of any club with ambitions of lifting silverware.

‘I don’t know which people are saying it’s like a “Mickey Mouse cup”, but honestly we are not seeing it in this way and our players are not seeing it like this. We see it as a great opportunity to win.

‘In the 10 years or more since I came to England I have seen how clubs celebrate winning this cup. A lot of big clubs have won it and they were all happy to celebrate it, and so were their fans.

‘It’s one of our objectives and we are taking it seriously. Tonight we are going to put out the best team possible, as if we are playing for a final.’

It was also pointed out that there is added motivation in the fact that success in the Carabao Cup would guarantee qualification for European competition next season. While Pochettino agreed, he also pointed out it is important not get ahead of ourselves with such a difficult match still standing between ourselves and a place in the semis.

‘Yes, but we need to go step by step,’ he added. ‘I know that it’s true and it should be a good opportunity, but we cannot focus too far ahead.

‘Now, it is just about tonight and being ready because we cannot think that maybe we have an opportunity to go to Europe if we arrive in the final.

‘First we need to arrive in the semi-final and to do that tonight we need to perform better than a Newcastle team that is going to be a very tough opponent.’