Mauricio Pochettino unsure whether injured Christopher Nkunku will play again this season


Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino says he does not know if forward Christopher Nkunku will play again this season.

The Athletic reported in February that the 26-year-old France international, who has had an injury-hit campaign, would be out for “up to a month” with a new issue.

However, Pochettino is unsure if Nkunku, who joined Chelsea from RB Leipzig last summer in a deal worth €60million (£52.7m, $58.8m), will feature again for the London side this campaign.

He said: “I don’t know. Still, we don’t know. At the moment we do not know when it is possible for him to start training with the team. At the moment he is not training with us.

“It did not happen (a setback). I have no information about that. His recovery is taking longer than we expected. That was after the final (League Cup final). He played in the final with a problem that we did not know about and found after the game.

“There are different circumstances that affect things. It is not only him. Too many players have suffered injuries this season.

“We hope that he can be involved again quickly. As soon as possible. It will be really good if he can join the team again before the end of the season. We hope that will happen.”

Nkunku has found fitness and game time difficult to come by this season, due to a range of injury issues. His last appearance came as a substitute in the League Cup final against Liverpool in February.

A knee injury sustained during a pre-season game last summer required surgery and kept him out for the first four months of the season while a hip injury kept him sidelined for the majority of January.

He has been limited to just 10 appearances in all competitions this season, the majority of those being as a substitute.

Defenders Trevor Chalobah and Malo Gusto, who missed Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Saturday due to injuries, have returned to training and could be fit to face Manchester United on Thursday, but Ben Chilwell is a doubt for the due to an illness.

Pochettino said: “Trevor (Chalobah) and Malo (Gusto) will train with us. I think they will be ready to be in the squad (against Manchester United on Thursday).

“Chilly (Chilwell) no. We haven’t seen him since Friday. The doctor and medical staff removed a lot of fluid from his knee after he returned from the national team. Saturday he got ill and he has been at home since recovering.“Rob Sanchez is training. We will see if he is in the squad.” 

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

What Chelsea can expect from Christopher Nkunku: Composure, clinical finishing and clever runs

(Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)





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