Graham Potter has revealed he is looking to try and find the root of Chelsea’s countless injury problems this season as the squad lost another player on Thursday evening.
Denis Zakaria was taken off in the second-half of the Blues’ 2-1 defeat to Fulham at Craven Cottage after pulling up following a pass. It was yet another muscle injury and the Swiss midfielder is now set to join nine of his teammates on the sidelines because of the problem.
Raheem Sterling, Christian Pulisic, Edouard Mendy, Wesley Fofana, Armando Broja, Ben Chilwell, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, N’Golo Kante and Reece James are all currently absent because of injury. Some of them are nearer than others to returning – for instance, Chilwell and Loftus-Cheek are both training with their teammates now, but the injury problems have been unprecedented at Chelsea this season.
It’s a freak season in that regard. Ever since the World Cup break finished, Chelsea have lost a further five players to injury problems and it is of course having an impact on the squad, who have now lost seven of their last 10 outings in all competitions.
Something needs to be done. Whether the problem is the recovery they’re allowing the players, the training regime, fatigue, Potter doesn’t know yet. But the Chelsea head coach is doing his best, along with his staff, to find the answers.
“Yes, absolutely,” Potter told football.london when asked if the club are looking at how the injury problems are coming about on such a regular basis. “We are looking all the time.
“We’re going over how they are happening and trying to evaluate the whole thing. Sometimes it’s difficult when you come in halfway through the season to know how things happened. It’s a bit of bad luck and there’s also learning for all of us in terms of how we can improve.”
When asked if there’s anything they’ve put their finger on so far, Potter responded: “No, not at the moment. The nature of them, it’s almost like there’s not even a pattern. They are different problems.
“It’s tricky and it’s not like we are overtraining or anything like that. It is just something we certainly need to get to the bottom of.”
Chelsea take on Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon but Potter will once again have to choose from a depleted squad. It’s not made easier that Joao Felix will not be available for selection.
The 23-year-old was shown a straight red card against Fulham, just 58 minutes into his debut for his temporary club, after lunging into a challenge on Kenny Tete. Felix is now set for a three-match suspension, where he will miss Premier League games against Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Fulham.