Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner has explained that Elias Kachunga's absence from the squad that faced Chelsea on Saturday was due to the player's lack of fitness and the strong competition for places in the side.
The DR Congo international played for the Terriers during the pre-season but did not even make the bench against last season's FA Cup winners, who claimed a 3-0 win at the John Smith's Stadium in their first Premier League match under new manager Maurizio Sarri.
Having suffered a serious knee injury against Watford back in December, the 26-year-old striker missed three months of action before returning as a substitute against Crystal Palace in March. He played against Newcastle next, but that would be it for the season after a forceful challenge from Kenedy saw him taken off after 56 minutes.
Kachunga is still working on his fitness, and Wagner has since revealed that Saturday's match came too soon for the German, and that there's tough competition for places in the side nowadays.
“We were very happy that Kacha was, more or less, able to have a complete, full pre-season – we hadn’t expected he has been able to train with us more or less the whole period,” the manager explained (via the Huddersfield Daily Examiner).
“But, to be totally honest, this is part of the competition.
“We were able to see he was out for, more or less, half a year and he isn’t on his best form – but he can’t be after he was out such a long period.
“We will try and support him and help him to come on form as soon as possible and this is the nature of progression – the competition gets bigger and stronger.
“You have to be there every single week and every single training session – this is why we select the squad and why we select the starting XI.
"At the end, though, everyone has the chance to get qualified for the starting XI or for the squad and this is, for sure, a little bit different this season.
“Everyone knows they are not untouchable, but I know the guys will fight and work for their shirt.”