Chelsea and England defender Ben Chilwell is expected to be out for months rather than weeks with a hamstring injury.
Chilwell, 26, suffered the injury in the latter stages of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup win over Brighton & Hove Albion last Wednesday.
Mauricio Pochettino admitted that the injury “does not look good” and although Chelsea have not put an exact timeframe on the recovery themselves, it is feared he will be out for some time.
“I think it is bad news,” Pochettino said on Friday. “The doctor told me it is not a good thing, but we need to assess in the next few days and we will see the period he is going to be out.
“But it does not look good. It (the injury) was in the last minute of the game. Yes, we are really sad about the news.”
Chilwell injured the same hamstring last November and missed the World Cup in Qatar as a result. He was sidelined for three months on that occasion before returning in February.
England have two international breaks between now and the turn of the year with Chilwell highly likely to now be missing for both.
Levi Colwill has been used on the left side of Chelsea’s defence in Chilwell’s absence, albeit in a fluid system with Mykhailo Mudryk also utilised on that side.
Pochettino is blessed with other options, though, with Marc Cucurella and Ian Maatsen also available to him in his squad.
Chelsea have suffered a number of injuries in the opening weeks of the 2023-24 season with Reece James, Wesley Fofana and Christopher Nkunku all missing.
Benoit Badiashile, Trevoh Chalobah and Carney Chukwuemeka have all also been sidelined but are nearing returns.
Chelsea are next in action away at Burnley on Saturday.
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