Mauricio Pochettino reveals why Reece James had to come off against Blackburn
He was making his first start in nearly three months.
James made his first start on his return to the side from injury as the Blues booked their spot in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals to face Newcastle United.
The defender was making his first start since the opening weekend of the Premier League season.
Pochettino is desperate to get James up to speed, but given his injury record, the Argentine says he must manage the defender’s minutes.
There was hope that James would last the full 90 minutes after he said he was fine to continue at half-time.
But Pochettino has revealed that James asked to come off on the hour-mark after admitting he was ‘tired’.
‘The plan was to check at half time how he feel and how he was,’ sad Pochettino.
‘After 15 minutes he started to feel tired. and we were checking from the second half. He was a little bit tired and we need to be careful how we manage him. Of course, I think in that moment we decide to make that change.
‘It is important now to make the progression and to be careful about not to go back. Sometimes maybe to play 90 minutes and take some risk but we need to avoid this. It is true we cannot avoid 100% of the risk but the plan is to go little by little.
‘When you decide that he’s your captain it is important that they stay fit, can play and help the team. He’s an important player for us. He’s an amazing player, for me one of the best full backs in the world. Unlucky that we only play 70-75 minutes against Liverpool in the first game and until today didn’t play.
‘The temptation is ok, come on go and play 90 minutes but we need to be careful. Little by little he is going to get fit and cope with the demand of the games.’
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