Mauricio Pochettino gives injury recovery update on Reece James ahead of Chelsea v Man City

The Chelsea manager is set to be without six players for Sunday’s game against Manchester City.
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Mauricio Pochettino has given an injury update on three Chelsea players ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game against Manchester City.

The London club head into the match on the back of Monday’s win over Tottenham Hotspur, where Reece James made his first Premier League start since the opening weekend of the season. The Chelsea skipper lasted 77 minutes before being replaced and Gareth Southgate revealed on Thursday that the player was not included in the latest England squad as he continues to be eased back into first-team football.

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But speaking ahead of Sunday’s clash with City, Pochettino explained that James did not rule himself out and claimed it was a decision reached between Chelsea and the FA.

“The national team and the club take the best decision for him and after all his problems and now he starts to feel fit again,” said the ex Spurs boss. “I am happy he is going to be with us because it is two weeks to work with him again and for sure he will have the opportunity to join the national team in the future.”

Pochettino also revealed that none of his injured players will be back for Sunday’s match at Stamford Bridge, but added that summer arrivals Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia could be available again after the international break.

On Nkunku, the Chelsea boss said: “We had some conversation and he said to me I want to be ready for after the international break, Newcastle [on 25 November]. I asked him yesterday [about a return] and he said 'hmmm’. And I said ‘you are a liar’.

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"It is close and he is really well," the 51-year-old added. "We are happy with him. Romeo Lavia is also close. They trained today on the pitch. Hopefully with the team next week."

Meanwhile, Wesley Fofana, Trevoh Chalobah, Ben Chilwell and Carney Chukwuemeka are unavailable due to injury, with Enzo Fernandez expected to be fit after he was replaced on Monday with a knock.

As for City, Pep Guardiola confirmed on Friday that Manuel Akanji should be back following a back injury that prevented him from playing in Tuesday’s win over Young Boys. But John Stones is out with a recurrence of a hip problem and he joins Sergio Gomez and Kevin De Bruyne on the treatment table.