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Pochettino: Chelsea squad has better understanding of each other despite tough week

Mauricio Pochettino claims that his Chelsea players have developed a better understanding of each other after what he described as the most challenging week of his tenure at Stamford Bridge.

The defeat in extra time to Liverpool during last Sunday’s Carabao Cup final deprived his young side, currently positioned 11th in the Premier League, of the opportunity to lift silverware in what has been a demanding season thus far.

Subsequently, they faced a tough challenge from Championship side Leeds on Wednesday. Despite falling behind early and being drawn level to 2-2 in the second half, Conor Gallagher’s last-minute goal secured their passage to the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Criticism has been directed at the manner of the loss at Wembley, especially after the team missed several chances during normal time and struggled against a Liverpool side depleted by injuries, which eventually featured four inexperienced academy graduates.

Pochettino held a meeting with Chelsea squad after EFL Cup loss

When asked if the aftermath of the Chelsea defeat has marked his most challenging period since assuming the role in July last year, Pochettino responded.

“Maybe yes,” he admitted. “We feel very disappointed. We had faith to win, we were so close. After 90 minutes we were the better side. The last 15, 20 minutes we created many big chances to score and win the game.

“Then the energy dropped and we didn’t keep the energy after 90 minutes. That’s why we lost the game. We’re all really disappointed because we put in too much energy to try to win. I think we deserved it.

“We met after the game (Sunday), in a different place away from Wembley. The players started to feel the good spirit. (They were) disappointed and (it was) painful.

“But Monday and Tuesday we were very open. All the players wanted to play. Some were tired with some problems, but everyone wanted to play against Leeds. That speaks highly about the squad.

“They are learning, to compete all together, to feel each other, to know how they behave in this level when it’s a final, with not too much experience.

“They start to understand each other, that’s the most important thing. After seven or eight months, we already know the profile of the players, how they behave.

“But it’s important for them to know each other, to know how they will react under high pressure and high stress.”

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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