Fernandez hint, wonderkid debut: Five things spotted in Chelsea training before Carabao Cup tie


Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping to return to winning ways on Wednesday night when Chelsea welcome Blackburn Rovers to Stamford Bridge for the Carabao Cup round of 16. The Blues head into the clash following a disappointing defeat to Brentford, bringing an end to an impressive four-game unbeaten streak.

As for the Championship outfit, they'll also be hoping to transform their fortunes after a 1-0 loss to Swansea at the weekend. While not many clubs in the English Football League will be necessarily prioritising the tournament this season, Pochettino is determined to get his hands on some silverware.

"Really important," said the Chelsea manager. "I told you before we started the season, I think a competition like the Carabao Cup or FA Cup is really important for us. Tomorrow we are going to try and play with our best team.

"Some players that maybe we need to rest because we need to do some rest because after Saturday's game, we cannot take some risk. In general we are going to try to put our our best team."

Then, when asked if his squad have one eye on the Tottenham meeting on Monday, Pochettino replied: "No, we are not going to take a decision tomorrow thinking of Monday because I think we have time to recover the players. I think the most important, like I said before, all of the players need to be ready for tomorrow to try to play and we will decide.

"Always taking the best decision if some players need to rest because there is a risk something happens but we are going to try to take it very seriously, like always because I think it is a competition we can go through."

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So, with that being said, football.london have taken a look at five things which stood out in the latest collection of training pictures as Chelsea are put through their paces at Cobham.

Fernandez returns

Enzo Fernandez made his return to training this week following his omission from the matchday squad which faced Brentford on Saturday. The 22-year-old midfielder was a big miss for the Blues and Pochettino will be delighted to welcome him back into the fold.

Wonderkid call-up

Leo Castledine joined first-team training at Cobham ahead of the Blackburn clash, suggesting that a potential senior debut could be on the cards. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder has eight goals and assists in seven Premier League 2 appearances this season and, with Chelsea struggling in the final-third, Pochettino could look to the teenager.

Sanchez replacement

After a few unconvincing performances, Pochettino may be inclined to replace Robert Sanchez with Djordje Petrovic. The 24-year-old shot-stopper, who joined Chelsea from New England Revolution late into the summer transfer window, is yet to make his debut for the Blues and he'll be desperate for the chance to impress against Blackburn – and not just in training.

James gears up

Speaking in the pre-match press conference, Pochettino confirmed that James would start for the Blues in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night. At Cobham, the right-back looked ready and raring to go ahead of what will be just his third appearance of the campaign.

Gusto strapped up

While Malo Gusto has recently returned from suspension, he appears to still be nursing a knee injury. The Frenchman was involved in first-team training at Cobham as usual but his right knee was heavily strapped with white bandages.

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Chelsea flag prior the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One match between Chelsea FC and Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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