Mauricio Pochettino reveals Christopher Nkunku plan after teammate concussion blow

  • Mykhailo Mudryk unlikely to play for Blues on Sunday after colliding with Tariq Lamptey
  • Mauricio Pochettino said player was 'not okay' and will need to follow concussion protocols
  • Replacement Christopher Nkunku unlikely to play the full 90 minutes for Chelsea
Mykhailo Mudryk did not complete the match against Brighton
Mykhailo Mudryk did not complete the match against Brighton / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

Mauricio Pochettino refused to confirm whether or not Christopher Nkunku will start on the final day of the Premier League season, having seen the Frenchman play more minutes in midweek than he'd anticipated.

Nkunku replaced Chelsea teammate Mykhailo Mudryk after just 42 minutes of the 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday, after the Ukrainian took an accidental blow to the head from Tariq Lamptey.

Pochettino confirmed in the aftermath of the game that Mudryk was "a little bit dizzy" from the incident, which has ruled him out of facing Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge because of concussion protocols.

£52m arrival Nkunku scored just his third Premier League goal to secure Chelsea's win - a rare high point in a debut campaign that has been restricted to just 411 minutes of action because of persistent injury problems.

Addressing whether or not Nkunku will start on the final day, Pochettino hinted at a cautious approach because of his earlier than anticipated outing at Brighton.

"He played more than we expected because of the problem with Mudryk, he played 70 minutes," the Argentine said. "More than we planned. We will assess him tomorrow if he can start.

Christopher Nkunku
Nkunku unveiled his trademark celebration against Brighton / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

"90 minutes is hard for him to play after playing on Wednesday. We don’t need to take risks. We will take the best decision for him, first, and then the team. We cannot take the risk. He needs to finish well with good feelings, and start pre-season like Reece James."

Pochettino was also probed over Chelsea's uptick in form - a streak that has seen them climb into sixth in the Premier League after spending much of the campaign marooned in mid-table. As a result, Europa League qualification is now a very real possibility, with the Blues' fate in their own hands on the final day.

"We believed we could be there," Pochettino explained. "Was there a turning point? The process to work, to keep pushing and believing. When everyone wants to attack you because they want results yesterday. They don’t show patience. That is why experience is really important in life, like in football. No doubt about yourself, about the way you plan to work and play.

"No doubt just because we don’t get what we want sometimes… sometimes football it takes time to build the links between the players. We protect the players. Sometimes we can be wrong, but the more experience and intuition, we saw it was only a matter of time that we could improve and perform better and get the results we wanted."