Untimely break for Chelsea boss Pochettino as FA Cup win followed by international shutdown


I bet head coach Mauricio Pochettino was wishing there was no international break this weekend.

Having scraped past 10-man Leicester City on Sunday with two late goals in a 4-2 FA Cup quarter-final  win, he would want to be getting into Premier League action to take advantage of the good fortune his side is currently experiencing.

Having taken a two-goal lead against the Championship outfit, the Blues reverted back to type and let the lead slip until the last seconds of the match, when two excellent finishes by Carney Chukwuemeka and Noni Madueke saw off the by now bedraggled Foxes.

Now Pochettino will have to hang on until March 30 before he can get to grips with Burnley at the Bridge.

It will be pretty sparse on the first-team training pitch this week as most players will be away representing their countries, but at least he will be able to check up on the injured ones and have a few five-a-side matches with some of the U21s drafted across to keep the non-internationals company.

The supporters’ patience with Pochettino is starting to wear thin though.

There was more ire directed at him over his substitution of Mykhailo Mudryk at the weekend.

The Ukraine winger was having his best game of the season.

There were boos when Raheem Sterling was replaced, this time it was directed at the player – the fans have fallen out of love with the attacker, much in the same way England boss Gareth Southgate has.

Pochettino knows he will never win over the hardcore supporters. As an ex-Spurs manager, that was always the case.

To have had any chance, he would have had to have Chelsea top of the league and brandishing the League Cup. He has neither, and he’s clutching at straws that a visit to Wembley in an FA Cup semi-final is going to improve matters.

Instead of focusing on himself, he knowingly deflected any criticism away to the board instead.

Asked if the fans trusted him, he said: “No, I know that they trust me. They need to trust the club because in the end, if I am here it’s because of the decision of the club and they need to trust on the pressure of the club.

“It’s not about trusting me or the players, it’s about having trust in what the club (board) is trying to do.”

That comment won’t go down too well with the board and Pochettino thinks his cup exploits this season, a EFL Cup final defeat to Liverpool and a match against Manchester City is proof that he is doing a good job.

He added to the trust theme: “We need to go to Wembley. [As manager] at Southampton and Tottenham, [the fans said] ‘We need to go to Wembley.’

“Now look, in nine months in the two different competitions, we got to Wembley and we need to enjoy and we need to trust more.

“We fully deserve to be at Wembley and we are.”

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