Mauricio Pochettino has said Chelsea will gain belief from their 3-1 win at Aston Villa in their FA Cup fourth round replay.
Chelsea ripped up the form book to ease into the fifth round with a fantastic performance at Villa Park. Villa had lost just twice at home all season heading into the game, while Pochettino’s team had lost six of their last seven on the road.
Conor Gallagher emphatically side-footed home his first goal of the season to open the scoring, before Nicolas Jackson marked his return from Africa Cup of Nations duty with a fine header from Malo Gusto’s cross.
Enzo Fernandez wrapped up the win with a fabulous free-kick from distance, bending a brilliant effort past international teammate Emi Martinez into the top corner. Villa grabbed a late consolation through substitute Moussa Diaby, but it’s Chelsea who progress to a fifth-round tie with Leeds later this month.
Pochettino believes the performance shows what his side are capable of at their best and says the underperforming Blues will take confidence from this result.
“I am very pleased, first of all because the players were fantastic,” Pochettino said, as per the club’s official website.
“They played very well, were free and enjoyed the game – which is important because football should be about joy – against a team that is doing a fantastic job, that is so difficult to beat here. They are full of confidence in the top four.
“That is why I am really pleased with the performance because I think it will provide us the capacity to really believe that if we all fight together and approach games the way we approached the game today we are capable of performing in this way.
“I think it was one of the best performances of the season, we played well against a very difficult team. Aston Villa is doing a fantastic job and are opposition who are in the top four and are the second best team playing at home.
“That is why it was really difficult but we are so pleased with the performance. I think the players believed and the way we played was fantastic, so we need to say congratulations to the players.”