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Chelsea’s Pochettino Expresses Concerns Over Squad Maturity

Mauricio Pochettino at Chelsea
© Ace Football

Mauricio Pochettino, the manager of Chelsea, has voiced his concerns regarding his squad’s maturity level, suggesting that they lack the experience needed to compete consistently in the Premier League’s demanding schedule.

His remarks come after Chelsea were held to a 2-2 draw by Sheffield United, following a thrilling victory over Manchester United just days earlier.

Despite taking the lead through Thiago Silva’s goal, Chelsea conceded an equalizer to Jayden Bogle before halftime. Noni Madueke restored Chelsea’s advantage in the second half, only for Sheffield United’s Ollie McBurnie to snatch a late equalizer in stoppage time, leaving Chelsea frustrated.

Pochettino pointed out that Chelsea had previously dropped points in a 2-2 draw with relegation-threatened Burnley in March, indicating that the congested fixture list was beginning to take its toll on his players.

“Of course, they were tired but that is not an excuse today not to win the game at the end,” Pochettino stated, acknowledging the fatigue but emphasizing the need for his team to still perform at their best.

The Argentine manager expressed his assessment of his team’s readiness to compete, suggesting that their inconsistency may stem from a lack of maturity and readiness to handle the physical and mental demands of playing every three days, especially against lower-ranked opponents like Sheffield United.

“Watching football, as a 52-year-old, you identify very quickly when a team is ready to compete or not,” Pochettino remarked, indicating his observations of Chelsea’s performance.

He reiterated his concerns, stating, “Maybe because this group is still not mature enough to compete every single game, every three days, because like you say Sheffield is in the relegation zone. I’m not saying we’re not being respectful, but we need to think a little bit more.”

Pochettino also explained his decision to substitute top scorer Cole Palmer in the 74th minute, citing the need to protect the player and prevent potential injury issues amid the demanding schedule.

“We need to protect him,” Pochettino emphasized, highlighting the importance of managing the workload of key players to avoid long-term setbacks.

Looking ahead, Chelsea faces Everton in their next league fixture before a crucial FA Cup semifinal clash against Manchester City on April 20. Pochettino will be hoping to address the issues of maturity and consistency within his squad as they aim to finish the season strongly in both domestic and cup competitions.