Chelsea boss Pochettino warned about dressing room reaction after ‘risky’ remark

Chelsea boss Pochettino warned about dressing room reaction after 'risky' remark

Ex-Liverpool star Dean Saunders believes that Mauricio Pochettino took a ‘risk’ in criticising the effort that his Chelsea team showed during their defeat over the weekend. The Blues were humiliatingly beaten 4-1 by Newcastle in a poor display which highlighted why the higher powers at the club are strapping in for another busy January transfer window.

Alexander Isak opened the scoring for the Magpies on Saturday before Raheem Sterling’s exquisite free-kick equalised before half-time. Newcastle then took control after the interval, with Jamal Lascelles and Joelinton putting the game to bed within a matter of minutes.

Chelsea skipper Reece James was then shown a red card for two bookable offences before Anthony Gordon put the icing on the cake with a well-worked solo goal to truly rub salt into the Blues’ wounds given that they desperately tried to sign the winger previously.

Following the loss, Pochettino emerged from the dressing room full of frustration and said: “I am not talking about mistakes. I am talking more about energy, we were not in the right… we were not prepared in the best way to compete today. That is my concern. We thought we were ready to compete today but we weren’t in the way the competition demanded.”

Pochettino taking aim at his squad raised eyebrows given that the Argentine has frequently jumped to their defence in weeks gone by, and Saunders felt that the ex-Tottenham boss took a major risk in specifically singling out the work ethic of the team publicly – and may make matters even worse for himself.

He told talkSPORT: “What do you do this morning now, Pochettino? He’s actually come out and said they’ve not worked hard enough. That is a risky statement to make when you’re not winning.”

Pochettino then went on to say that his team would not be given a ‘rest day’ on Sunday, though it has since emerged that the former Southampton manager stuck to his pre-arranged schedule and allowed his troops to have their day of recovery away from the club’s training ground – with Nicolas Jackson spotted in the dressing room of former side Villarreal.

Chelsea showed glimpses of promise before the international break, beating Tottenham and earning a point against Manchester City. As a result, Pochettino was more frustrated that his team were not willing to ‘work hard’ despite the momentum that they were enjoying before heading to St James’ Park, and it remains to be seen how they react when they host Brighton at the weekend.