Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has explained why striker Christopher Nkunku was not involved as the Blues defeated Preston 4-0 to book their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
It was Armando Broja, who opened the scoring for the Blues with a fine header and was unlucky not to get another, hitting the crossbar and having a shot cleared off the line.
More goals quickly followed, with Thiago Silva heading in Cole Palmer’s corner – the latter registering his 15th goal involvement of the season – before Raheem Sterling fired in a free-kick and Enzo Fernandez made it four from close range late on.
Asked after the game why Nkunku was not involved, Pochettino said as quoted by Chelsea official website: “It’s really tough. The circumstances are really tough from the beginning of the season. Broja, Nkunku, Lavia, sometimes it is difficult to explain for the fans.
“Like Nkunku, we don’t want to put pressure on him, because we know after a long time injured always it is difficult to come back and start to perform. After six months away from the competition it is always tough.
“Now he wasn’t involved because he suffered some problem in his hip after training yesterday and now we need to check and see if it will be possible for him to be ready for the next few games.
“That is the problem, they need game time to get their best and sometimes we cannot provide this game time to players who need to feel the competition, because in the end we are Chelsea, we need to win. Sometimes it is really tough to explain that to players who feel the pressure to play and perform because they want to help the team.”