Mauricio Pochettino has revealed he only has ’14 or 15′ players to choose from when Chelsea travel to Bournemouth on Sunday.
Despite spending another £400million in the summer, Todd Boehly’s expensive squad has crumbled under the weight of injury problems in recent weeks.
Pochettino has as several first-team stars unavailable for the trip to the south coast and has a threadbare squad to choose from.
The Blues were beaten by Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge in the last appearance and will be desperate to return to winning ways as they eye a return to European football.
But Pochettino conceded he has limited options to take on Andoni Iraola’s side with so many stars unavailable.
Mauricio Pochettino says Chelsea will only have ’14 or 15′ fit players to face Bournemouth
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Speaking on Friday, the former Tottenham boss said: ‘With the circumstances, of course, I think it is better for us because we have 11 or 12 players injured.
‘And I think it shows with the squad at the moment. I think we only have 14 or 15 players. I think it’s important that we can recover the players and be competitive.
‘Of course with the history of Chelsea, we need to be involved in European competition but that is not in my hands now, that is the reality.
‘In our hands now is to work and to try and be in there next season. For sure we are going to be in European competition next season.’
Christopher Nkunku, Wesley Fofana, Armando Broja, Reece James, Romeo Lavia and Benoit Badiashile are among the high-profile absentees.
Pochettino did reveal that James, who suffered an injury against Liverpool on the opening day of the season, is nearing a return.
Romeo Lavia is one of those first-team stars unavailable for the trip to Bournemouth this week
He said: ‘He’s recovering well. I cannot say if he is close or not because we assess him every single day.
‘He has started doing things on the pitch with the ball. He is doing really well, he is desperate to come back and help the team. I hope that he’s close and can be available before the next international break.’
One positive for Pochettino is Enzo Fernandez is ready to start on Sunday, despite a length return journey from South America after representing Argentina in World Cup qualifying.
Pochettino added: ‘Today, he’s good. He’s in a good mood, has a good energy. He scored against Bolivia. Yes, I think he’s in a very good mood and I think he is ready.’