Chelsea won’t take risks with Ben Chilwell’s fitness – Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino is not prepared to take any risks with Ben Chillwell’s fitness following his return from a hamstring injury.

Chilwell made his first start for four months in the 6-1 victory over Middlesbrough on Tuesday night and was one of Chelsea’s best players.

The 27-year-old has made just 55 appearances for the club in the last two-and-a-half seasons due to sustaining injuries.

Chelsea take on Aston Villa in the FA Cup fourth round at home tomorrow night and Pochettino said: “He is an important player of course — if he is fit and can cope with the 90 minutes. (On) Tuesday he could not cope because after 10-15 minutes of the second half he asked to go out because he needs to build up his fitness.

“Now we have doubt (whether) to start with him tomorrow. We are assessing him and if he can cope with another game after three days. That is a massive decision because what we want is to build his confidence over his fitness and to be consistently playing for the rest of the season. We don’t want to go back.

“It’s a general situation we need to fix. It’s not mentally. The problem is not his body, it is to trust in us in the way that we are going to propose to work.

“He is always very optimistic and positive. He always wants to play. Now at the moment we need to be careful. We know the player wants to play but it is important to (listen) to the advice of the professional and the medical area. We always work together and listen to the advice.”

Chelsea’s win over Middlesbrough has set up an Carabao Cup Final against Liverpool on February 25. Pochettino has noticed the players are already aware they need to compete for a place in the starting XI and believes that will help him in the fixtures before the showpiece occasion at Wembley.

He added: “I was joking a little bit (about this) after the game that maybe the injured players (will come back) and if you could see training today many players were involved!

Maybe they cannot be involved tomorrow but maybe for Liverpool.

“Always with victories, the positive energy helps (people) to be more motivated, to create a different atmosphere in the dressing room, the training ground, yes. You always need victories to build your confidence and believe you can beat any team.”



Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea are propelled to Wembley by their flying full-backs

(Getty Images)

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