Is Mauricio Pochettino feeling the heat at Chelsea? It certainly seems like it based on a deflection tactic that he employed in his latest press conference.
The Blues manager – who’s currently facing calls for the sack from some quarters – spoke to the media this afternoon ahead of the FA Cup fourth round replay against Aston Villa on Wednesday night, and he cited Liverpool’s defeat to Arsenal to make a point about how he feels the reaction to his team’s setbacks is overly amplified in comparison.
The Argentine said (via Football365): “When we lost to Liverpool, it was ‘massive fail, oh look at Chelsea, how bad it is’. [When] Liverpool lost to Arsenal, I didn’t hear anything, but it was a similar result to when we played against Liverpool.
“That is affecting the players, because this team needs confidence. We need the support and our fans need to be behind Chelsea. The people need to realise that situation. We cannot send any different messages.”
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Pochettino isn’t a manager who regularly moans about his lot or tries to throw shade at other clubs, but citing Liverpool to try and defend the indefensible at Chelsea seems baffling.
The Blues have spent more than £1bn on incoming transfers since Todd Boehly bought the club two years ago (Daily Mail), but all they have to show for it since are a 12th-place finish last term and a mid-table placing more than halfway through the current campaign.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds were in scintillating form as they toyed with the west Londoners at Anfield last week, while the visitors were rather meek, so the 51-year-old will have to accept that the criticism of his team’s display was justified.
For Pochettino to claim that he didn’t hear any similar slating of Liverpool’s performance at Arsenal was also peculiar – he must’ve missed the part where Roy Keane likened our defending to that of a ‘pub team’ after the concession of three goals ranging from sloppy to slapstick, or Don Hutchison saying that the performance was ‘bordering on arrogance’.
That was only our second Premier League defeat nearly six months into the season; Chelsea have had the same number of top-flight losses in the past six days.
We can understand why the Argentine is pleading for Blues supporters to stick with them during another turgid campaign for the club, but needlessly bringing LFC into the conversation was a surprising move which hints that he’s very much feeling the pressure right now.
#Ep100 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: EOTK Insider with Neil Jones🎙️