Why Christopher Nkunku was not in Chelsea squad for win over Preston | Football

Christopher Nkunku only made his Chelsea debut on December 19 (Picture: Getty)

Mauricio Pochettino has explained why Christopher Nkunku was not named in Chelsea’s squad for Saturday’s 4-0 FA Cup victory over Preston.

Nkunku was somewhat of a surprise omission having featured for the Blues in their last four fixtures.

The west Londoners spent £52m to bring the 26-year-old to Stamford Bridge this summer but fans were left waiting until December for him to make his debut.

That’s because the former RB Leipzig star had been suffering with injury problems and it looks like he could be already set for another spell on the sidelines.

‘Nkunku, we don’t want to put pressure on him,’ Pochettino said after the win against Preston.

‘We know it is difficult after a long time injured. Six months away [and] now he wasn’t involved because he suffered a problem in his hip in training.

‘Se need to see if he can be ready for the next few games.’

Alamy Live News. 2W9TH6G Luton, UK. 30th Dec, 2023. Mauricio Pochettino manager of Chelsea during the Premier League match at Kenilworth Road, Luton. Picture credit should read: David Klein/Sportimage Credit: Sportimage Ltd/Alamy Live News This is an Alamy Live News image and may not be part of your current Alamy deal . If you are unsure, please contact our sales team to check.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side are back in action on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup (Picture: Getty)

Quizzed about how hard it is to get players like Nkunku back to full fitness after long spells of injury, Pochettino added: ‘The circumstances are really tough.

‘They need to play to get to their best and we cannot provide this game time to players that need to go and feel competition because we need to win.

‘Sometimes it’s really tough to explain to the players who feel the pressure to perform and to play. Sometimes it is difficult to explain but if you understand football you realise how tough it is.’


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