Pochettino explains why Nkunku was missing from Chelsea’s squad to face Preston

Photo: Harriet Lander – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Christopher Nkunku was notably absent as Chelsea’s team list for their FA Cup third round meeting with Preston was announced on Saturday evening.

The 26-year-old recently returned to Mauricio Pochettino’s side after recovering from an injury that kept him on the sidelines for four months.

Nkunku made a couple of appearances for Chelsea upon his return (mostly from the bench), and even scored twice, before Pochettino revealed during his press conference on Friday, that the Frenchman wouldn’t be in the starting XI to face Preston as a result of a fitness concern.

The coach however, did say that the former RB Leipzig forward would be on the bench for the game, which made it all the more worrying when his name was missing from the team sheet.

It turns out that Nkunku actually suffered a hip injury during training, and it was decided that it was best to leave him out of the win against Preston altogether.

Asked about the player’s absence during an interview, Pochettino told the media: “Nkunku injured his hip in training.”

“They will need to see if he can be ready for the next few games.”

From the looks of it, the injury may not be anything severe, and there’s hope that Nkunku can recover on time to play in any or both of Chelsea’s games against Middlesbrough and Fulham next week.