While the Blues were losing 1-0 to Middlesbrough in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday night, Maatsen was touching down in Germany ahead of joining BVB on loan until the end of the season.
Pochettino had few options to call upon off a very inexperienced bench, which has led some fans to question the logic in loaning out Maatsen, but the Chelsea boss has all but confirmed his looming exit.
Asked why he permitted Maatsen to leave given the club’s current dearth of fit players, Pochettino replied: ‘Well I think it’s obvious that of course he’s not here because he’s in negotiations with [Dortmund].
‘When something happens, the club will inform.’
Chelsea lined up without a striker against Boro, with Cole Palmer – who missed a hat-trick of gilt-edged chances – playing as a false nine, and Broja was left on the bench until the 63rd minute despite netting against Preston in the FA Cup at the weekend.
After a long spell on the sidelines, Pochettino says he could not risk starting Broja again just three days after the Preston match irrespective of his side’s current struggles in front of goal.
‘Armando came from one year out injured and in this period was playing a few days ago,’ explained Pochettino.
‘He cannot start like a normal player. We need to manage and in three days we have another game he should start. It’s difficult for a player like this to start three games in seven days. That is why, yes.
‘When he came to the pitch with Mischa [Mudryk], it was difficult for them to connect, difficult to create chances and in the end they cannot help to score or take a different result.’
Asked why Chelsea still have so many players injured, Pochettino replied: ‘What a difficult question, what a difficult answer! Bad luck, because some injuries you cannot manage, it’s not about training, it’s not about capacity, quality in other areas, sometimes it’s the profile.
‘Difficult to answer, because I think we are suffering too many injuries. I don’t want to say bad luck only, because that’s any easy way to justify it, but to be honest… so much bad luck!
‘Look at Christopher Nkunku, look at Wesley Fofana, look at Romeo Lavia – it’s too many. Reece James as well. We have 10 or 12 situations like this, players out. It’s difficult when you don’t have all the squad fit to work.
‘Every single week it’s always about trying to find the right balance in the team. I don’t like to be a victim or justify ourself, but it’s true that it’s really tough. But we are going to be positive.’
He added: ‘We don’t know if we are going to recover players for Fulham. In a few days we have another game in the Premier League that we need to win.
‘Now we need to provide to our players the trust and the confidence and try to recover as quickly as possible to play on Saturday in our best condition.’
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