Enzo Fernández and Mykhailo Mudryk were surprise absentees from Chelsea’s defeat to Brentford on Saturday. Moises Caicedo got the nod in midfield while Noni Madueke started on the wing against Brentford, and Mauricio Pochettino said minor fitness problems were the reason why.
He told TNT Sports via Football.London: “Both of them felt a small muscle strain yesterday, but I hope they will be available for the next game. It’s not a big issue. (It) should be fixed in the next few days.
Pochettino hinted that Fernandez needed a rest due to the recent birth of his child, adding: “Maybe (the baby’s arrival) was the reason he could not train and felt uncomfortable.” This was days ago, however, so what’s the latest on the pair?
Mudryk expected to miss Blackburn clash
Mudryk’s injury wasn’t believed to be serious, but he looks likely to miss Wednesday’s EFL Cup clash with Blackburn Rovers. Chelsea’s official website says the 22-year-old is ‘undergoing his rehabilitation programme’. Fernandez has been pictured in training, however, so he’ll be available for selection.
Although Fernandez has featured in 11 of Chelsea’s 12 games in all competitions, he might be rested against Blackburn. The 22-year-old doesn’t need to be rushed back if he isn’t 100%, so Pochettino might manage his minutes.
As for Mudryk, it’s yet another setback for the Ukraine international just as he started scoring. The 22-year-old netted two goals in his last three Premier League appearances for Chelsea but is now sidelined. It remains to be seen if he’ll return in time to face Tottenham Hotspur on Monday, November 6.
Tactical dilemma for Pochettino
Chelsea need to get back on track after the Brentford loss and will fancy their chances against a Blackburn side one division below. Pochettino doesn’t have a lot of wide options, so he’s forced to put a square peg in a round hole.
Caicedo is more than an able deputy for Fernandez in midfield, but Palmer might have to operate on the wing for Mudryk. Christopher Nkunku’s return can’t come soon enough for the Blues, but he isn’t expected back for weeks.
Chelsea have had enough injuries this season to last a lifetime.