Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino gives his verdict on whether Reece James will be ready for Euro 2024

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MAURICIO Pochettino has said he thinks Reece James will be ready for Euro 2024 after the Chelsea captain made his comeback in the 3-2 win against Nottingham Forest on Sunday. 

James made his first appearance since December when he came on in the 79th minute and has two more games to show Gareth Southgate he is fully recovered from hamstring surgery. 

“We have one more week to work,” Pochettino said. “He is doing well in the training sessions. After four or five months, he’s not the same to train and compete but if he has the possibility to do that in the next two games, and if his coach in the national team believes he can cope with the competition, I think he will be ready.”

It’s unlucky there are only two games ahead and it’s one week. It is important for him to recover for his feelings and he is such an important player for us. He is our captain. We all love him. Yes, important, and to see whether he will be fit and have a chance of making the Euros.”

Pochettino was asked again after the game about his future. 

Hew replied: “I never said I am not happy. I never said that. I said maybe I am not happy, maybe I am happy. But it’s normal, the headline. Sometimes too much honesty when I’m talking but it’s not a problem.

“I have one year more on my contract. Like I said, I’m thinking always in long-term, thinking that it’s going to be for life here. We are professional, we try to win games. We are trying to make the owners happy and the staff. I am responsible for all of the staff at the training ground in Cobham. I try to make the players happy and the fans. That is my job. Easy – so easy!”

Luton Town’s 3-1 defeat to West Ham United virtually assured Nuno Espirito Santo’s side’s safety before they kicked off at the City Ground. 

They are three points clear of the Hatters and have a better goal difference of twelve going into the last weekend. 

Pochettino said: “It’s true that today they were celebrating. Full credit to Nottingham Forest to be one season more in the Premier League with all of the circumstances. I want to congratulate Nuno and all of the staff and the club because they have done a fantastic job.

“It’s always difficult to play against a team that is celebrating because the freedom of the players is always there, a better performance and they have more energy. We started the game and we scored and then we conceded a goal which we cannot concede in this way.

“I think we controlled the game but they were very dangerous in the transition. They have very good players, so fast and they created when we take risks. Always you need talented players, players from the bench to make a big impact like happened today and a little bit [of luck] to win the game.

“I’m so happy because the important thing is always to believe and never give up. The team showed their resilience and maturity to fight until the end and I am so pleased because maybe you cannot perform like we did against West Ham and Tottenham.

“In this type of game, you need to be a bit more mature and at the same time to play a different type of football. That is important if you want to be in a higher position in the league table.”

Pochettino added: “We were punished for the first ten games, not because of our performances but because we were not clinical enough with the chances we created.

“In these first ten games, to have between four and eight points more, I think today we would be in a completely different position. If you count the game we played against Tottenham [in November], that was number ten, we have played 26 games [since] and if you start to count from there I think we would be in the top four of five, for sure, with some very good performances.

“That is not because you asked me but to assess the last 26 games, if you put all the circumstances in there and you analyse and assess this season, we are in a clear way going high. 

“Finishing strong is our challenge now to try and achieve to be in Europe next season and start the next season strongly.”


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