Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that Romeo Lavia is still some way from making his injury comeback.
The Belgian international’s first season at Stamford Bridge has been plagued by fitness problems and, asked whether the midfielder would be back for the Carabao Cup final later this month, Pochettino said:
“No [he won’t]. He is not training with the team. He is still recovering. Impossible. He is still not on the pitch.”
Lavia was signed from Southampton for £58m in August, but a disrupted pre-season meant he needed a bespoke fitness programme to get him back available for selection.
However, on his return to full training in September, he injured his ankle which sidelined him for over three months.
Lavia has played just one solitary game for Chelsea
The 20-year-old was finally back available for selection in mid-December. He made the matchday squad for the first time against Wolves on Christmas Eve.
Lavia was an unused substitute for the 2-1 defeat at Molineux but he was handed his debut versus Crystal Palace a few days later. He replaced Ian Maatsen during the 2-1 win and played the final 32 minutes.
Another setback has forced the midfielder back onto the sidelines
In the aftermath of the victory over Palace, Pochettino revealed that Lavia had picked up another problem. The seriousness was initially played down but it is believed that he sustained a rather bad thigh injury.
Over a month later, the Belgian has yet to return to training, and it appears that he won’t be in contention for the whole of February. With Lesley Ugochukwu also unavailable due to a hamstring injury, Pochettino does have limited options in central midfield. It means Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez will likely have to play every game between now and the final at Wembley in two weeks’ time.