By ABUBAKAR YUNUSA
Mauricio Pochettino was met with somber tidings regarding the condition of Chelsea’s star defender, Ben Chilwell, following the player’s recent injury setback.
Chilwell underwent a rigorous scan on Thursday to assess the severity of his hamstring ailment, which had forced him to exit the field during Chelsea’s midweek League Cup triumph over Brighton.
Pochettino, the head of the Blues, acknowledged the grim nature of the injury, although he remained uncertain about the timeline for Chilwell’s recovery.
This unfortunate development compounds Chilwell’s woes, as he endured a season marked by injuries, participating in just 23 league matches last year, and missing out on the 2022 World Cup due to a prior injury setback
“I think it is bad news from what the doctor told me. It is not a good thing,” Pochettino told reporters on Friday.
“It looks a bad injury but we need to assess in the next few days and we will see the period he will be out.
“The mechanism was bad, in the last minute of the game. We are really sad about the news about Ben.
“It is difficult to know now, it is less than two days and we need to assess in the next few days.”
With England right-back Reece James also sidelined, Pochettino admitted it was hard to replace to players of such high quality.
“At all clubs, important players are missed when they don’t play,” he said.
“If the question is ‘do we miss them?’ Of course. Reece is a top player and Chilwell also. When they’re at their best, they are the best full-backs in the world.
Pochettino could be without as many as 11 players for Monday’s west London derby at Fulham, with a lengthy injury list exacerbated by suspensions for Malo Gusto and striker Nicolas Jackson.
But when Pochettino was asked about Burnley boss Vincent Kompany’s proposal that players should be limited in the number of games they can play in order to guard against injury, the Argentine said he was unsure if it was a realistic idea.
“Maybe there are players that cannot cope with 70 games during the season, but another player can cope with that,” Pochettino said.
“Another player only can cope with a limited percentage, because the risk is massive to get injured again.
“It’s difficult to generalise. We cannot put some limit on the players. The players want to play every single game. When it’s a top player who wants to play, how do you say no?”