Mauricio Pochettino hopeful of Christopher Nkunku, Levi Colwill return for Chelsea’s clash against West Ham


Mauricio Pochettino revealed he hopes to have Christopher Nkunku and Levi Colwill available when Chelsea face West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Nkunku has not featured for Chelsea since picking up a hamstring injury in the Carabao Cup final defeat against Liverpool in February, while Colwill has been sidelined since being forced off during a 2-2 draw with Brentford on March 2 with a toe injury.

Chelsea are without 14 first-team players for the visit of Tottenham Hotspur to Stamford Bridge on Thursday, but Pochettino voiced cautious optimism that Nkunku and Colwill are close to easing the club’s injury crisis by returning to the squad.

“They were training (on Wednesday),” Pochettino said. “We were doing some set-pieces, tactical work and meetings. They are nearly there.

“They are on the line but they don’t cross the line. We hope on Sunday they will cross the line for West Ham. We hope. But still, we need to wait until tomorrow (Thursday), Friday and Saturday to see if they can cope with the competition. What it means on the website (the club’s official injury update) is that they are close and they are nearly capable.”

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Pochettino also pushed back strongly against any suggestion that his training methods have contributed to Chelsea’s chronic injury problems this season.

“It’s like I explained in the past with (Romeo) Lavia,” he added. “People that are talking don’t know nothing because they weren’t here. They say Lavia isn’t here because of Pochettino, he is too tough or strong but I never trained with Lavia. When he arrived, he was injured. Then he was re-injured and now he cannot play.

“Tell me, how can our methods affect a player that wasn’t with us? We know this business. Too many people talk and try to blame someone and create, you know, bad feelings and criticise. But I think after 15 years we have the knowledge and experience to deal with it. We are a group working with the performance area and medical staff — we decide altogether.

“We have proved we can deal with this and have dealt with this. We have arrived from a different club, not from Mars to manage footballers. It is disrespectful and from people bored at home using social media.”

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 (Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)





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