Mauricio Pochettino says Chelsea summer signing Romeo Lavia remains far away from a return to first-team action due to injury.
Belgium international Lavia impressed in his debut Premier League season with Southampton last year and ended up spurning transfer interest from Liverpool to move to Stamford Bridge.
However, persistent fitness issues have limited the 20-year-old defensive midfielder to just one league appearance so far in 2023/24, that coming in a 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace in late December. Lavia picked up an injury in the game and hasn’t been seen since.
Asked if Lavia would be available for the upcoming Carabao Cup final against Liverpool later this month, Pochettino responded: “No. He is not training with the team. He is still recovering. But no, no, impossible. Still not on the pitch.”
He added: “[Benoit] Badiashile, we need to assess him. We still need to wait for the scan. Levi Colwill, we need to wait until Sunday to see if it’s possible to be available. And [Trevoh] Chalobah is doing well, he is training with the team. After that, there is nothing to update at the moment.”
Chelsea slipped into the bottom half of the Premier League table with their defeat to Wolves last weekend but did secure their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup by winning at Aston Villa in midweek.
Pochettino remains without a host of important first-team players. Goalkeeper Robert Sanchez is sidelined alongside defenders Wesley Fofana, Reece James and Marc Cucurella, while Lesley Ugochukwu is also missing.
The Blues’ next challenge is an away trip to Crystal Palace on Monday night. Having dropped to 11th in his debut season in west London, Pochettino will be desperate to turn things around a enjoy a more positive second half of the campaign.