Mauricio Pochettino might have joined in with jeering Chelsea fans

Mauricio Pochettino said he would have joined in with jeering Chelsea fans who booed his team against Brentford had he been a supporter, as he confirmed three more of his players have succumbed to injury and illness.

The Argentinian was without eight squad members for Saturday’s 2-2 draw at the Gtech Stadium, when away fans turned on their own team after they threw away a first-half lead and needed a late Axel Disasi goal to avoid an 11th Premier League loss of the season.

Now he faces also being without Ben Chilwell, who has been sent for specialist treatment on a knee problem, and Levi Colwill, who has an injured toe, for Monday’s game against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

Of greatest concern to Pochettino however will be the fitness of Conor Gallagher, one of his most consistent performers this season, who has not trained since the Brentford game and is suffering from a virus.

“He’s not here the last three days,” said Pochettino of the 24-year-old. “We’ll see if Saturday or tomorrow he has the possibility to train.

“The problem with these situations is you lose weight and energy is down, and you need time to recover. We need to assess him in the next few days.”

Pochettino has consistently pointed to the impact that injuries have had on his team’s progress since he took charge in July.

He has rarely enjoyed an absentee list of fewer than seven players, and is likely to be without as many as 10 for the visit of Eddie Howe’s side.

One of the more frustrating aspects for the 52-year-old has been recurring injuries, with Chilwell, Reece James, Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia all spending more than one extended spell on the sidelines, while Wesley Fofana is expected to miss the entire season.

Gallagher’s absence is likely to be particularly felt as he has played in an influential role in almost every game since the manager took charge.

Pochettino said he empathised with fans who booed his side against Brentford, but countered that circumstances have ultimately put paid to any chance of success this season.

Conor Gallagher
Conor Gallagher is a doubt for Chelsea’s meeting with Newcastle on Monday (John Walton/PA)

“We need our fans,” he said. “I hope they will be behind us on Monday. It’s so, so important to our players.

“But we need to accept that it’s football. They are frustrated. Maybe if I was a fan in the stand I would behave the same way as them.

“If you want to be consistent and you want to fight for big things, you need to be consistent. How? With the full squad, keeping the ideas, improving in training, with the capacity to train every single day.

“When that’s not there, we can manage circumstance, but in the end, we are only managing circumstance. We will never have the capacity to have the full squad to compete between each other.

“When you suffer too many negative things, like now we lose three players after Saturday (injured), that is not about the quality of the coaching staff, or the capacity to play more offensive or defensive. It’s about the circumstances.

“People want to understand? Perfect. They don’t want to understand, what can we do?”