Mauricio Pochettino insisted Chelsea “is not a charity” during a passionate rant about players and their agents complaining about a lack of game time. Chelsea have one of the largest squads in the Premier League and also one of the most expensive.
Over the summer, Todd Boehly and Co invested over £400million in players including £48m for Romeo Lavia and £52m for Christopher Nkunku, who have missed the majority of the season through injury.
But both players are back fit again meaning competition for places is ramping up. Ahead of Chelsea’s away trip to Wolves this weekend the Blues boss was asked about their availability and whether they will start.
To which, he replied: “After six months, like Nkunku, like him [Lavia], they need to understand they need to be involved, to train really, really hard every day. They need to be an impact every time they go to the pitch. It’s not to say we are in a pre-season game and they go to the pitch and we say, ‘if they perform well, if they don’t perform well, then no problem’, because [they’ve been out for] six months.
“Players need to understand that this is not a charity. If they think we are going to play for a joke and play football, no, no, we need to win.
“That is why we feel so disappointed in professionals because sometimes it’s difficult for players to understand the environment Because Nkunku didn’t play again against Sheffield United, I am disappointed to have a player that should be an important player for us but isn’t helping the team.
“Maybe I am talking too much but come on, It’s annoying me sometimes and it’s not annoying you. People around the player or the player complain that ‘I am not playing,’ Ah come on! I am disappointed, the club is disappointed that we’ve invested big to perform and score goals but when you are not scoring goals, okay we pay the salary every month.
“If you’re not playing or you’re injured, come on. Who suffers for us? For the coaches? Who suffers for the club? It’s always us no? Come on. We have to get the right balance with all this business, it’s so important.”
Nkunku was given his first minutes off the bench during a Carabao Cup tie with Newcastle on Tuesday after being an unused substitute against Sheffield United in the Premier League a few days prior. Meanwhile, Lavia is yet to make his debut since moving to Stamford Bridge from Southampton in August.