Following the news on Friday that Reece James will be seeing a specialist this weekend to assess the knee injury sustained in Milan, Graham Potter has been discussing how he plans to adjust things tactically while the defender is sidelined.
James limped off at San Siro shortly after half-time and Potter revealed in his pre-match press conference ahead of our Sunday clash with Aston Villa that the 22-year-old would be assessed on the discomfort he is experiencing.
The Chelsea head coach went on to explain how the group would cope with the absence of James, as well as N’Golo Kante and Wesley Fofana.
‘It would be wrong of me to say that we’re not going to miss players like Reece and N’Golo,’ he said. ‘That’s normal, and Wesley Fofana as well, but that’s the job of the squad and it’s my challenge to find a different solution.
‘We haven’t got another Reece James or another N’Golo Kante so you have to find a different way of working within the team. Tactically it’s a challenge but it’s one that we’re up for and we have to find those solutions.’
Despite initial optimism that James’s injury was not too severe, the past few days have left the wing-back still feeling pain and Potter insisted that was a typical reaction for players to experience.
‘I think it’s pretty normal that as soon as there’s a bit of discomfort a day or two after, you get it checked properly so that’s what we’ll do,’ he explained.
‘It normally takes 24 or 48 hours to settle down. He’s been in fantastic form for us. I’ve really enjoyed working with him and really enjoyed how he’s played so fingers crossed we’ll wait for good news.
‘He's a player with world-class attributes and the way he defended against [Wilfried] Zaha and against [Rafael] Leao in both games against Milan is high level, plus he can still contribute in the attacking phase. I thought the first half especially the other night he was amazing, him and Mason down that right side did really well.’
Potter also commented on recent published research which showed Chelsea had the most players out injured in the 2021/22 season, insisting that work was ongoing to improve that record.
‘I don’t think you should blame everything on luck,’ he added.
‘We have to look and see what we can do better.
‘I’ve only been here a few weeks so I haven’t got the answers completely but clearly we always want to try and improve and that’s an area we can probably improve in.’