Ahead of Sunday's trip to Bournemouth in the Premier League, Mauricio Pochettino has provided an update on the players who will be available to him at the Vitality Stadium, while confirming that Romeo Lavia has been ruled out by injury, but Reece James could be nearing a return to the pitch.
The Chelsea squad has been beset by injuries in the opening stages of the 2023/24 season, hampering Mauricio Pochettino's efforts as he attempts to build a new-look team in his debut campaign with the Blues.
He and his staff have had two weeks to help get some of those players back to fitness during the international break, and confirmed that both Armando Broja and Benoit Badiashile are getting close to returning, although they are not quite ready yet.
However, there has also been one more injury problem appear during the break, meaning new signing Romeo Lavia will not be able to make his Chelsea debut at Bournemouth on Sunday.
'We are really disappointed because I think he was training really well last week in the international break,' said Pochettino. 'He twisted his ankle and now we are waiting for Monday to hear yes or no from the doctor. We hope that it’s not a big issue but in the last week he could not train with the team.
'It’s a sad situation because he was nearly fit to be involved again with the team. Now we need to wait and hope it is not a big issue for him, and the team of course because he cannot help the team. We don’t know how long it will be because we need to assess him, assess the nature of the injury. Until then we don’t how much time he will need to recover.'
There was better news on another player nearing a return, though, as captain Reece James continues to work on his recovery from the injury he suffered in the draw with Liverpool on the opening day of the season.
'He’s recovering well. I cannot say if he is close or not because we assess him every single day. He has started doing things on the pitch with the ball. He is doing really well, he is desperate to come back and help the team. I hope that he’s close and can be available before the next international break.'
While international breaks provide a chance to help injured players recover, they can also bring their own complications when it comes to the fitness for those representing their national teams, especially when travelling long distances. That was the case for Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo, who spent the last week in South America with Argentina and Ecuador, respectively.
'I’ve seen Enzo today and he’s in a good mood with a good energy. He scored against Bolivia. He’s in a very good mood and I think he will be ready. Moises, we need to assess him, because he got back a little bit later than Enzo. But I hope yes, he will be fit to play.'
Pochettino also reflected on the performances of striker Nicolas Jackson during the early stages of his Chelsea career, in particular our last match before the break, when we suffered our first home defeat under our new head coach, 1-0 to Nottingham Forest.
‘For me, his performance against Nottingham Forest was good, it was only that he didn’t score. You can assess the player, but a striker or an offensive player needs to score and assist, I know that. But Jackson came from Spain and he is young. He needs to build his confidence and trust. He needs to adapt to the Premier League, it’s only a matter of time.
'But he is doing a fantastic job for the team. He only needs to be a little bit more clinical in front of the goal, but to be more clinical in front of the goal is about trust, it’s about confidence, about having the space to play and about settling at the club. I think that is going to happen. I have no doubt that he is a fantastic player.’
Jackson's next chance to show the clinical edge in front of goal his manager wants will be at 2pm on Sunday, when we return to Premier League action following the international beak against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium