Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has claimed he cannot replace both Reece James and Ben Chilwell when they are not available.
He stated in his pre-match press conference that despite efforts in the transfer window, the duo are not possible to replace when fit and firing.
James and Chilwell were named captain and vice-captain respectively ahead of this season, as a statement of the belief the manager has in them.
However, it took just one game for James to be back on the treatment table, as his issues continue regarding his fitness.
The left-back meanwhile was forced off late in the day during their 1-0 win over Brighton in midweek.
While there were hopes that a scan would bring back some positive results, Pochettino himself revealed that it was bad news regarding the setback.
James and Chilwell irreplaceable
He has now claimed that despite the quality of players the club have signed in recent windows, the duo are very difficult to replace when not fit.
He said: “In all the clubs, important players you always miss when they don’t play. Of course we always miss top players. When they are at their best, of course they are some of the best in the world.
All of the team, we miss some important players. There’s only one Reece James and one Ben Chilwell. The club tried with Malo Gusto, Marc Cucurella and Levi can play there.”
It remains to be seen who starts in either wing-back position this weekend when the Blues make the short trip to Fulham on Monday.
Marc Cucurella impressed on the right in the week, and could be recalled for his first league start of the season.
There may also be a place for Ian Maatsen in his traditional position, despite the manager’s insistence of playing him elsewhere.