Mauricio Pochettino has acknowledged that struggling Chelsea is in need of maturity as their tumultuous season reached a new low with a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday.
Pochettino’s team has managed to secure only one victory in six league matches under his guidance, as Ollie Watkins’ second-half goal clinched victory for Villa at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues currently find themselves in 14th place, with just a four-point buffer above the relegation zone, having failed to score in their past three games.
Chelsea’s latest setback was triggered by the expulsion of young defender Malo Gusto in the 58th minute for a challenge on Lucas Digne. After a pitchside VAR review, referee Jarred Gillett upgraded the initial yellow card to a red card due to dangerous play.
Adding to Pochettino’s woes, Chelsea striker Nicolas Jackson, who has netted just one goal since his transfer from Villarreal, received his fifth booking for attempting to block a Villa free-kick, resulting in a one-game suspension.
Pochettino declined to criticize the officials and instead emphasized that he and his players must take responsibility for Chelsea’s difficulties.
It’s our responsibility, and it’s the players’ responsibility. We can’t point fingers at VAR or the referee,” Pochettino remarked.
We need to respond differently to these situations. I won’t blame or say anything negative about Malo Gusto. In football, situations occur, and they have a detrimental impact on the game and the team.
We need to mature as a team, not just as individuals. Players like Nico (Jackson), who are young and adjusting to the Premier League, require time.”
Despite spending over £350 million ($428 million) on new signings since his arrival in July, Pochettino has been unable to uplift a Chelsea side that struggled significantly last season.
Chelsea’s strategy under co-owner Todd Boehly has been to acquire younger players with high potential and resale value, but this has left Pochettino with a largely inexperienced lineup.
The former Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham manager has also had to contend with a lengthy injury list.
Chelsea’s youthful squad has struggled to meet expectations thus far, and Pochettino is eager for a response as the pressure continues to mount.
“In matches like these, we’re in competition mode, and we want to win. However, young players need to gain experience through matches,” he noted.
“That’s why we’re disappointed because we find ourselves in too many situations like this. A minor detail, and in the end, we lose the game. We are in a situation that we must change as soon as possible.