Chelsea vs Man Utd: Everything Mauricio Pochettino said on Conor Gallagher, Nkunku injury, Man Utd showdown

Chelsea vs Man Utd: Everything Mauricio Pochettino said on Conor Gallagher, Nkunku injury, Man Utd showdown

Mauricio Pochettino spoke to the media on Wednesday afternoon ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League match with Manchester United on Thursday night.

The Blues take on the Red Devils later this week in what is a huge match if they are to boost their hopes of qualifying for some sort of European competition this season. Meanwhile, United are looking to keep their faint hopes of securing a Champions League place alive with three points at Stamford Bridge.

Pochettino was a busy man just over 24 hours until the game kicks off in his pre-match press conference.

“Okay, Trevoh [Chalobah] and Malo [Gusto] have trained with us and I think they could be ready to be in the squad. Chilly (Ben Chilwell), no, Chilly, we didn’t see him until Friday; that was the last time we saw him because the doctor and medical staff removed some fluid from his knee. That was the situation to arrive from the national team.

“On Saturday, he got ill and on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday [today] he was not here and at home trying to recover. Robert Sanchez is training, we will see if he can be in the squad or not and the rest you have on the website.”

Todd Boehly spoke after the Burnley game to tell the fans to trust the process and keep the faith. What did you make of his comments?

“I never talk about my owners. Nothing to say about that because they are entitled to talk in the way that they want – that is why they are the owners of the club.

“Only I can say is thank you to show the trust and the support. That is the most important thing that we need and the players need the support from our bosses.”

How pleased are you with Alfie Gilchrist signing a new contract and does Cole Palmer need a new contract soon?

“Look, I think it’s good for a player who came through the academy. You can see how he feels the shirt and the badge, Alfie, and congratulate him for getting a new contract.

“And for the second part of your question, I think it is a player who arrived now and is of course doing well. But I don’t know, he is like five, six or seven years on his contract. I don’t know. But no worries that the club believe they need to compensate or reward players, I’m sure the club is going to do.

“He is playing football. That is why we bring him [here] to play football. He is an offensive player who is doing well. This is always the idea when we sign players, to perform in the way that he has performed.”

What are your realistic end of season targets?

“I think we need to catch up on some games, I think we are behind because we were involved in the competitions like the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup until the end. We need to cancel some games [because of this].

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“That is the process and the evolution of the team. I think we are the youngest team in the best five leagues in Europe. That is one thing, another is with all the circumstances, we didn’t get the results we deserved.

“That is the process and the realistic moment we need to accept. But of course, we are in a club like Chelsea that is all about to win, but changing the project and doing the things in a different way, you always need time. Maybe more than we expect because the circumstances have delayed a little bit to get the results we wanted, but we need to keep going with the same energy and the same capacity to keep working and believing in the idea and philosophy we want to create.”

What are your thoughts on the Gallagher situation?

“It has upset me so much because no one wants to do something like this, with this intention. He was so well, with so many photos, videos and photography with both mascots and then when you play football, you are there, you are focusing on so many things, focusing to play, to start the game, that sometimes can happen.

“People want to abuse the people. People always try to find things to create a mess and to abuse the people that if you know, I know Conor, I know the people that are involved here in Chelsea, I can talk for the people I know.

“Come on, there is no intention. Conor is a great, great kid and is always caring about everything. I hate when the people feel free to abuse on social media and things like this. I think we don’t believe, or you don’t believe, we need to stop these kinds of things.

“To abuse the people is so easy and then it’s to pay attention of that, also, when these things never happened. Or to give too much attention to the people that want to create this type of situation or mess, or to abuse other people. Please, stop.

“We are all responsible. Who believes the intention of Conor is to ignore a mascot? Come on. It makes me very, very sad because I know Conor and he doesn’t deserve to be abused. No-one deserves to be abused but him, come on. I am seeing too many things happening, not only in England, in the rest of the world.

“Our responsibility, altogether, is to try and ignore these types of things. The people who try and create this type of thing never help our life. We are involved in football and it’s not deserved to pay attention like that. We need to keep moving. For me, it’s about to support Conor and all the people who sometimes get abused.”

How have your players reacted from the Burnley draw? What do you sense from your players in terms of the body language?

“We were talking a lot after the game, during these [last] few days. I agree with you on the body language. The thing we deserved from the beginning of the game. We are Chelsea but we need to behave like Chelsea. If we want to belong to a big club, it’s not an excuse to be young or an experienced player, we need to behave because in the end, we need to defend our badge and to play for our club.

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“I tried to describe after the game in my press conference our feelings and in the next few days when we were here at the training ground, I started to realise. It’s about talking about potential to be an amazing player, when we are talking about young players, they need to realise they need to improve so quick. There’s no time to improve in one or two years because the demand is so high from the Premier League and from the club.

“I think it was a good week, a good few days, to talk about body language, energy, the capacity to talk about the pressure and to perform better. We need to step up because if not we can find excuses but in the end we need to perform tomorrow and be the same guys on the pitch.”

How important is it to have the fans on board tomorrow at Stamford Bridge?

“It’s up to us to start the game in a different way than we started against Burnley. Even if we were 4 or 5-0 up against Burnley after 45 minutes, that is what we deserved. We need to play better, we need to show more energy, more that we can compete more like a team.

“Tomorrow is Manchester United – I think the motivation is there. We respect the opponent. It’s not about to respect the opponent but to respect ourselves, to respect our club because we need to play at our best and be motivated every time we go for a game.”

What do you expect from Manchester United?

“The same. For me, it’s one result for us. I need to be sure that my expectation about the game, that we are going to cope with the pressure and perform well, that we are going to be in a different way than we performed against Burnley.

“You asked me about Manchester United; I am not entitled to talk about Manchester United. I think what I need to tell you and the players that we need to perform well and be focusing on our performance tomorrow.”

What do you mean by ‘behaving like Chelsea’?

“It’s only to watch the game against Burnley. It’s too many aspects. If we want to win and to match the expectation at Chelsea, we need to behave different.

“Behaving different means to focus, to concentrate, to be more aggressive, not to hide, try to always ask for the ball, to play in possession. Okay, we create too many chances to score but in other areas of the game we need to be strong.

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“If you want to win games, it’s not only to play well with the ball. We cannot be an exhibition team to enjoy. That is why I was upset and disappointed after the Burnley game, because of course we tried to play, create chances, but after we need to run because we are at Chelsea.

“We need to chase the Burnley players like the Manchester United players or like the Real Madrid players because we still didn’t get nothing as a group of players, coaching staff here at Chelsea. Yes, we need to respect the aspects of the game. If you watch the game, I think you will agree with me. If the players did not agree with me then okay we need to be worried.

“I think we have experience in football and know what it takes to win. Now we are trying to explain and realising because the way we need to approach the players today is differently to 30 years ago, you could go and kill. Today, you need to explain, to show and to talk.

“Players today are very sensitive and they need to buy the idea and to realise the things we are doing well and the things we need to improve.”

How are you trying to improve defensively?

“Working in a way we can improve. Today, yesterday and before yesterday we were working a lot in trying to provide the tools to be strong and not concede goals in the way sometimes we concede.

“That is the only way that I know. We were talking before, showing videos in different lines with different players, players that were involved in the situation. Always it’s about the balance, to find the right balance. Before we get this right balance, yes, we need to pay more attention in a defensive situation to try and avoid the problems.

“We are creating so many chances, but of course in the second part of the season, we are conceding more. We are aware about that.”

How far away is Nkunku? Are we likely to see him again this season?

“I don’t know. Still we don’t know.”

Has he suffered a setback?

“To return to training? I don’t know what I said. At the moment we do not know when it is possible to start to train with the team. At the moment he is not training with us.

“That setback didn’t happen. I have no information about that. He is recovering and it has been longer than we expected. That was after the final, he played 30 or 40 minutes. The problem we didn’t know and we found after the game.

“This type of circumstance, it affects loads of things, too many players have suffered this season. I hope he can be involved again as soon as possible in the dynamic of the team and of course, if he should be really, really good before the end of the season, I hope he can be part of the team.”

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