Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that left-back Ben Chilwell has picked up a «bad» hamstring injury which will require further scans.
The vice-captain limped off late in Chelsea's 1-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion and, despite initial optimism over his condition, now appears set for another spell on the sidelines.
Chelsea face rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage on Monday and Pochettino has now confirmed that Chilwell will not make the trip.
«Bad news,» Pochettino said of Chilwell's injury. «The doctor told me is it is a bad injury but we need to assess in the next few days.»
Pochettino is, however, hopeful that Carney Chukwuemeka could return to action on Monday after overcoming an injury of his own, while the boss also made a point of stressing that winger Noni Madueke could feature after dealing with his own fitness issue — just days after he claimedMadueke's absence was a choice.
Right-back Reece James is nearing a return to action but Pochettino confirmed the club captain will not be ready to face Fulham.
«Maybe the week after, we'll see,» Pochettino said of James. «We need to assess him, but we will see.»
Chelsea struggled last season when both James and Chilwell were out at the same time, but Pochettino insisted the squad is now deep enough to get by without the two England internationals.
«In all the clubs, important players you always miss when they don't play,» he said. «Of course we always miss top players. When they are at their best, of course they are some of the best full-backs in the world.
»Why did we not buy another Ben Chilwell and another Reece James? Because there is only one Reece James and one Ben Chilwell. The club tried with Malo Gusto and Marc Cucurella, and also Levi Colwill can playRead on 90min.com