Monday, May 27, 2024

Pochettino updates on Chilwell fitness and Enzo absence

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Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed Chelsea vice-captain Ben Chilwell will return for Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester City – but there will be no Enzo Fernandez in the Blues squad due to suspension.

Chilwell missed Monday evening’s victory over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge due to a knee injury he sustained during our draw against Brentford earlier this month.

The 27-year-old was assessed by a specialist and was able to undertake training on Thursday, the same day he was named in the England squad for their forthcoming friendlies against Brazil and Belgium.

That call-up provided a strong indication that Chilwell would be available for selection this weekend against his former club. And Pochettino has confirmed the left-back is expected to return to the squad.

‘Gareth told you he is fit [by selecting him for England],’ the Chelsea head coach said with a smile. ‘He is in training and I think everything is going well. He will be in the squad for Sunday, yes.

‘When a player comes back from injury, starts to feel fit, and then has a call-up for the national team, they are always so excited. So, he is excited like the rest of the players [selected for England].’

A further boost for the Blues is that Benoit Badiashile has returned to full team training ahead of Sunday’s game. The centre-back hasn’t featured since we defeated Aston Villa in our fourth-round replay in February.

There will be no Fernandez to call upon against the Foxes, however. Having been booked in previous rounds against Villa and Leeds United, the 23-year-old will have to watch on from the stands.

‘You always want to have your best players available but we have players to replace him and perform in the best way,’ said Pochettino.

Victory over Leicester would secure a semi-final spot for the Blues and see us return to Wembley Stadium for the second time this season, something which Pochettino believes would be a notable achievement for his players.

‘For us in the dressing room, to beat Leicester and go back to Wembley again would be massive,’ explained Pochettino.

‘To reach another semi-final would be very good for us – and that would give us the possibility to reach a final and to try to win and qualify for Europe through the FA Cup.

‘But first of all, we need to think of Leicester, who are doing really well in the Championship. They are a very good team, we know very well players, and the coach is doing fantastic. It is going to be tough.’

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