Mauricio Pochettino believes Chelsea academy stars have the potential to excel in the League Cup

    Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino is confident the club’s academy stars will be up to the task if given the chance to impress in Wednesday night’s League Cup clash against Wimbledon.

    Pochettino intends to make the most of every opportunity at his disposal during his visit to League Two side Sky Bet, looking to deal with the workload on a squad that is already exhausted due to injuries.

    Striker Mason Burstow, midfielder Leslie Ugochukwu and Noni Madueke have come on as substitutes in the Premier League this season, so they could be given a start, while Diego Moreira and defender Bashir Humphreys could also be involved.

    Whichever side he chooses, Pochettino has no doubt that talented teenagers will have what it takes to take a step forward.

    “We are thinking of starting with 11 players who can play the way we want,” Pochettino said at a press conference.

    “(We want to be) right in our assessment, in our risk, because you have a lot of injuries and the squad is small at the moment.

    “We’re going to use four or five young kids from the academy – 17 years old, 16 years old – but Chelsea have always produced good talent, young kids, and now this is a good opportunity.

    “It’s not because that’s our philosophy at the moment, but because we need to bring young guys into the first team because we have players who can’t play tomorrow.

    “But I think it would be good to give the young guys the opportunity to be part of the project, part of preparing the players for the first team, because the Academy and the coaches are working very hard there.

    “It’s always good for a club like Chelsea to have players from the Academy who can convey the club’s identity.”

    Pochettino has refused to be involved in ongoing transfer speculation and defender Mark Cucurella is reportedly the target of Manchester United interest.

    “I can’t talk about speculation or rumors. Tomorrow he (Cucurella) will be able to play,” said the Chelsea coach.

    “The club didn’t tell me (anything else). All the players in our roster are included in our plans, even if they are not playing at the moment.”

    With Chelsea out of European football this season, Pochettino intends to focus on one thing only: winning matches, no matter the competition.

    “I want to win the League Cup, I want to win the FA Cup and I want to win the Premier League and then we’ll see what happens next,” said the former Tottenham manager.

    “Even if we compete in the Champions League or other European competitions in the next few years, each of them will be a challenge and an opportunity for us to win.”

    Chelsea, who beat Luton on Friday night to secure their first Premier League win of the new season, have agreed a season-long loan deal with Romelu Lukaku’s Roma.

    The Blues have already spent around £350m on new signings during the transfer window and have been linked with bringing in at least one more attacking player – Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe is reportedly on the radar.

    Pochettino said: “I know very well that the club is working very hard to try and finish our business in a few days, so I think it will happen, maybe yes (another player).

    “At the moment we are working on trying to deliver what we want, but we have nothing to report at the moment.”

    Pochettino added: “If we had someone who could improve different positions, of course he would be happy, but I’m happy with the way we are now.”

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