- Chelsea will hope to bounce back from Newcastle drubbing against Brighton
- Nkunku and Lavia will have their fitness assessed ahead of Sunday’s match
- Big Ange has lost three in a row, but no chance he changes his style: It’s All Kicking Off
Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino has described Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia as ‘close’ to returns from injury – and they could make their debuts against Brighton on Sunday.
£52million signing Nkunku has yet to make his competitive Chelsea bow after suffering a serious knee injury during pre-season which required surgery.
Fellow summer arrival Lavia, bought from Southampton for £53m, has also yet to play having suffered an ankle problem.
Both players have returned to training and Pochettino didn’t rule out some involvement at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
‘We need to assess tomorrow [Saturday] and then decide. They are close, but we need tomorrow to make a decision,’ Pochettino said.
Mauricio Pochettino has said Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia are ‘close’ to match fitness
£52million summer arrival Nkunku suffered a serious knee injury during the pre-season tour
Lavia, pictured with Pochettino, has already yet to feature for the Blues after an ankle issue
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‘Maybe Lavia is the more difficult but we need to assess Nkunku for tomorrow.’
Pochettino’s side crashed 4-1 at Newcastle United last weekend and the Argentine said there had been plenty of reflection during the days since.
‘We need to clarify things, realise what happened. I think it was a tough week for everyone,’ he admitted.
‘I am very happy because [the players] reacted very well. I was tougher with them inside [the changing room] and outside.
‘We have to blame ourselves also. Maybe our approach was wrong and we take the responsibility. We took the week to realise things that we need to improve, to be more consistent, more mature.
‘I am very very happy so far. It was really, really tough in training and meetings but some times, these types of situations help us to improve.’
Asked if he retained the support of Chelsea owner Todd Boehly and the club’s hierarchy despite being sitting 12 points off the top four, he replied: ‘Yes, of course, that’s the reality that it’s a process.
‘We are realistic with the situation and I think the first one that is supporting this is the owner.’
More to follow.