Mauricio Pochettino admits Chelsea must accept criticism for the club’s defeat at Middlesbrough in midweek, but has called on his team to put things right against Fulham this weekend.
Chelsea’s disappointing campaign suffered another setback after a 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough, with the Blues beaten in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final tie against the Championship side.
The West Londoners missed a host of chances at the Riverside, but Pochettino insists his team remain in the tie ahead of the return leg at Stamford Bridge later this month.
Chelsea next host Fulham in a Premier League West London Derby and Pochettino believes the clash is the ideal fixture for his side to respond.
“Yes but the last one is only the first half,” Pochettino said when discussing his side’s inconsistent results at his pre-match press conference.
“Other Premier League teams have lost to Middlesbrough. Moises Caicedo was telling me, ‘oh, last season we lost at Middlesbrough with Brighton’.
“A lot of Premier League teams when they play there, they lose. It is the first leg and we are disappointed because we cannot afford these results.
“But it is important to realise that we are still alive and we have the second leg at Stamford Bridge. We are going to fight to be in the final. We know that when you lose a game against a Championship team, you have to accept that you will be criticised.
“We have a chance tomorrow to put all these bad feelings out by performing in the right way.”
Fulham also lost in the EFL Cup semi-finals in midweek, but arrive into this weekend’s game having beaten Arsenal in their last league fixture. Pochettino believes the Cottagers are in a ‘good moment’ under Marco Silva.
“We’re going to face a very good team, Fulham is doing well.
“The last game at Liverpool they played in the Carabao Cup semi-final, they’re a good team with good players and are doing very well and they’re going to be tough tomorrow.
“They are in a very good moment, they are performing well . We didn’t perform badly against Middlesbrough and we came from a few victories. We need to keep the momentum. It’s true that after 90 minutes we are 1-0 down but we need to keep the belief.
“The team is preparing well and is confident for tomorrow.
“Every single game should be a priority for us, we need to play every game like a final.
“We are a young team so it is difficult to be consistent and perform the same way in every game but we try. That is the process. We knew it was going to happen but dealing with that is the most important thing.
“Some situations that we didn’t expect have made it more difficult. We are really calm, we know what we need to do.
“With time I think we are going to be very successful here. No doubt.”