Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino surprisingly described his side’s effort and performance as “good” despite losing 1-0 to Championship side Middlesbrough in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final. Hayden Hackney got the sole goal of the game as the Riverside visitors struggled to break down Michael Carrick’s outfit.
Chelsea dominated possession and were camped outside Middlesbrough’s box for large portions of the game, but rarely seriously threatened the goal as their disappointing season continued on a famous night in Teesside.
Despite this, Pochettino found it very easy to find the positives from the evening’s performance. “The performance was good,” Pochettino told Sky Sports. “We cannot say nothing about the attitude. We were punished for our mistakes. In football, that happens. Disappointing because if we assess the performance, we were the better side. But we didn’t score, we weren’t clinical.”
In his post-match press conference, Pochettino added: “It’s so easy to explain. We made big mistakes in the first half and we were punished. Other games you can talk in a different way. Second half we dominate but did not create good chances. In 15 days we will have the second tie and we need to be positive we can win the game.
“Punished because of some mistakes we made. We are agreed, we concede a goal because of our mistake. They take advantage of that. We create enough chances to score and draw, we assess the game after 90 minutes, I think we were the better side but if you don’t score goals you cannot win. Credit to them. They scored and we didn’t score.
“I am disappointed because I think we deserve another result. Sometimes you play well and win. Sometimes we play well and we are not clinical enough. That is the process. Always in a process when you are building a team is tough. Today we made few mistakes and concede a goal that we should not concede and then we were not clinical enough.”