Nkunku injured himself during Chelsea’s pre-season tour (Picture: Getty)
Nkunku played a prominent role in the Blues’ pre-season campaign before picking up a serious knee injury on the eve of the Premier League’s opening games.
The Frenchman, who joined from German side RB Leipzig in a deal worth £52m, has been working hard behind the scenes on his rehab and is now nearing full fitness.
There was speculation that the 25-year-old may be fit enough to return for Sunday’s game against Manchester City, but he will instead make his competitive debut for the club after the international break.
Pochettino is excited by Nkunku’s return and praised the attitude he has shown throughout his time on the sidelines.
‘We had a conversation and he said to me “I want to be ready for after the international break,”‘ the Argentine said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
‘I said to him yesterday “you are a liar”, but he is doing really well and we are very happy with how he is doing with his recovery. He is very professional.
Lavia joined Chelsea in a £58million deal with Southampton (Picture: Getty)
‘Hopefully next week he can be back involved with the team [in training] and then day by day see how it goes from there.’
Romeo Lavia, meanwhile, is also awaiting his first Premier League appearance for the west London club since his big-money move from Southampton.
The 19-year-old has been suffering with an ankle injury since his arrival at Stamford Bridge but Pochettino issued a positive update on the central midfielder.
‘Lavia is also close,’ he said. ‘He trained today on the pitch. Hopefully with the team next week.’
Chelsea host Manchester City on Sunday as they look to back up their impressive win against Tottenham with another three points against the league leaders.
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Both are yet to play a competitive match for the club.