Injured stars approaching first-team action with no “charity,” says Mauricio Pochettino

In light of mounting pressure to integrate summer signings Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia into the starting line-up following injury, Mauricio Pochettino emphasized that Premier League football is not a charity. As both players recover from injuries, the Belgium international Lavia and former RB Leipzig forward Nkunku have yet to make appearances in league games this season.

While Lavia, acquired from Southampton in August in a £58 million deal, is on the brink of making his debut for the club, Nkunku is still working his way to full fitness after undergoing knee surgery. Pochettino confirmed that Lavia could potentially be included in the squad when Chelsea visits Wolves on Christmas Eve. However, he made it clear that Nkunku still needs time before he can be considered fit to play from the start.

As the club faces an injury crisis that might result in up to eight first-team players being unavailable for their upcoming fixture, Pochettino underscored that other factors need to be considered aside from the players’ fitness. He pointed out that desire alone is not sufficient, and the players need to demonstrate their commitment to training and making an impact every time they are on the pitch.

In the face of criticism and disappointment surrounding Nkunku and Lavia’s lack of playing time, Pochettino emphasized the need to focus on the moment and prioritize players who are prepared to compete and deliver results. He stressed that the club’s primary goal is to win, and players must understand the competitive nature of the sport. Furthermore, Pochettino confirmed that Reece James is set to be sidelined for “several weeks” due to a hamstring injury, and Enzo Fernandez’s fitness will be evaluated ahead of the Wolves match after he was withdrawn due to illness on Tuesday.

Turning to other matters, Pochettino expressed his support for Chelsea’s decision not to participate in the European Super League, following a ruling that UEFA’s threat to sanction clubs who partook in the proposed league was deemed unlawful. He reaffirmed his allegiance to the club and its stance, expressing skepticism about the revival of the Super League.

In conclusion, Pochettino’s unwavering commitment to preparing his team for success in the competitive Premier League and making decisions based on the players’ readiness and capacity to contribute is evident. With several key players set to miss crucial fixtures, Pochettino faces the daunting task of ensuring that the team maintains its competitive edge and secures favorable results in the upcoming matches.


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