Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Chelsea, reacts during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on September 24, 2023 in London, England
Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Pochettino tells Chelsea players to ‘grow up’ following Aston Villa defeat

Mauricio Pochettino says his Chelsea side “need to grow up like a team” after falling to defeat against Aston Villa on Sunday. 

For the second season in a row the Blues were bested by an Ollie Watkins goal at Stamford Bridge. The hosts were also reduced to ten men after Malo Gusto was sent off following a VAR review for an ankle-high tackle on Lucas Digne.

“It’s our responsibility and the players’ responsibility,” Pochettino said in his post-match press conference.

“We can’t blame the VAR or the referee. The situation, we need to act different, in a different way. I’m not going to blame or say anything against Malo Gusto. Situations happen in football and they affect the game and the team in a negative way.

“We need to grow up like a team, not only in an individual way. A player like Nico (Jackson) that is so young, feeling the Premier League and he’s learning, he needs time. In this type of game, we’re competing and we want to win. But players, when they are young, need to learn with experience.

“That’s why we feel disappointed because we are playing too many situations like this. Another small detail and in the end we are losing the game. We are in a situation we need to change as soon as possible.”

Not for the first time this season Chelsea have paid the price for failing to convert superior chances and possession into goals. They have just one win so far and for the first time have lost three of their opening six games in a Premier League campaign, but Pochettino believes his side were unfortunate not to get more out of the game.

“It was a little bit unlucky,” said Pochettino. “How many chances did we have like Aston Villa? They shoot, we block, then they shoot and it touches the post and goes in. For us, how many one v one against (Emiliano) Martinez? We were a little bit unlucky but that happens.

“We need to accept the reality. But it was unlucky because how many chances did they create? Not many. With 10 men we were forcing them to go back.

“That is unlucky. We need to be aware about what is going on but in some way we need to be calm because the team is creating, the team is alive, the team is fighting every single action.

“We cannot say anything about the players, we cannot say that they gave up after 70 minutes. They were fighting until the end with one player less.”

Read – Five things we learned from the Premier League weekend

See Also – Casemiro’s cooked, Chelsea in crisis, Warnock’s a you-know-what

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