Chelsea's Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino gestures on the touchline during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in London on January 26, 2024. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)
Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino.
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Pochettino and Emery agree on ‘world class’ Aston Villa star

Mauricio Pochettino called Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez a “world class” player after Chelsea were shut out at Stamford Bridge on Friday night. 

The Argentine made a string of crucial saves in the FA Cup fourth round tie, which ended in a goalless draw. Both sides will face again in a replay.

“Of course he is a world champion and is world class,” the Blues boss told BBC Sport. “It’s always so difficult to beat them.

“Of course it will be difficult but it is also an opportunity for us to keep growing and improving and of course we will take it in this way.”

Villa manager Unai Emery was even more effusive in his praise of Martinez, highlighting his pivotal role in avoiding defeat away from home.

“He played amazing today,” the Spaniard said. “He saved us two or three times. And then he was always ready to cover our centre-backs in behind.

“Emiliano today, we needed him. And really he played like he is – number one.

As good as Martinez was, Pochettino was nonetheless disappointed with Chelsea‘s finishing on the night, if not his side’s overall performance.

“I am so happy with the performance of the whole team, I think the performance was good we just weren’t clinical enough,” he said.

“For them to face a team like Aston Villa who are doing fantastic in the Premier League and are in the top four, I think it’s a very good signal that we are improving.”

Emery, meanwhile, felt that a draw was the right result. “There were two different halves in the match,” he said.

“The first half was more or less for them and they created chances. But we played very well defensively, very well in our own box and we played very well with Emiliano Martinez.

“Second half we got better. We created chances and we were in their box. We were controlling the game. But at the end, I think this draw, for both teams, is what they deserve.”

Read – Emi Martinez admits to not enjoying new Aston Villa role

Read More – Chelsea to rival West Ham for Aston Villa striker

See Also – Chelsea vs Aston Villa combined XI

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