Graham Potter is hopeful that Kalidou Koulibaly will return to Chelsea training this week after the Senegal international did not make the trip to Austria to face FC Salzburg in the Champions League.
Koulibaly missed Chelsea’s draw with Manchester United with a knee issue he suffered against Brentford and was not involved in the squad’s training session on Monday morning at Cobham before the Blues flew out for their European clash.
Potter played down the severity of the injury at the weekend, but the clash against Salzburg has still come too soon. His return to training on the grass is set for later in the week, with Chelsea taking on Brighton on Saturday Saturday. Potter said in his pre-match press conference:
“It’s not too serious. This game is too soon for him. We’re hoping to get him on grass maybe on Wednesday or Thursday, but he is not available for tomorrow.”
Koulibaly’s name is joined on the injury list by Reece James, Wesley Fofana and N’Golo Kante, who are all out until after the World Cup as a minimum. Reports also emerged on Monday, suggesting that Marc Cucurella is recovering from a serious bout of illness, with the suggestion being that this also could have played a role in the Spaniard being subbed versus Aston Villa and Manchester United. Potter noted that the defender is a lot better now, and the latter decision was purely tactical. The 47-year-old coach said:
“He has had a bit of illness, but he is now a lot better. The reason for coming off against Manchester United was purely tactical.”