Mauricio Pochettino says ‘the owner would kill me’ if he didn’t play Chelsea duo against Arsenal
Chelsea were impressive on Saturday evening but ultimately blew a two goal lead to draw 2-2 with their London rivals at Stamford Bridge.
Though the Blues have a number of key players out injured, Pochettino was still able to name a strong side, including £222million midfield duo Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez.
The pair played the full 90 minutes against the Gunners, initially dominating proceedings but they began to tire late on, allowing the opposition to get back into the game.
Part of this can be attributed to their late return from international duty, with both Caicedo and Fernandez playing in World Cup qualifiers for Ecuador and Argentina respectively on Wednesday.
In his post-match press conference: Pochettino said that despite the quick turnaround he felt he had little choice but to start the young duo: ‘It’s crazy for players to come back from South America on Wednesday and play on Saturday.
‘But if I say “OK, I’m going to give them a rest” you [the media] will kill me, for sure if they don’t play – and the owner also!
‘Today Caceido and Enzo arrived after two games in America and they were not fresh. But they are important plasters for us.
‘It’s really tough to arrive like that. I hope now they can recover and train and in one week be at their best.’
The result has left Chelsea 10th in the Premier League, nine points off leaders Manchester City, with the Blues enduring a difficult start to life under Pochettino.
Many blamed goalkeeper Robert Sanchez for the dropped points after he gifted Arsenal their first goal and ought to have saved the equaliser, but his manager refused to publicly criticise his player.
‘We didn’t have the facility to have all our squad available and then to pick the starting 11. That is another thing you need to put in your analysis,’ he added.
‘Then look at the form of the players that we had because they came from injuries. Reece James had 15-20 minutes and now he needs time recover his best.
‘Maybe one criticism of us was maybe we need to take better decisions in 77 minutes not to concede in the way that we did. We gave our opponent the confidence, momentum and the belief to say “come on, go” because it was possible with only one goal difference.
‘The situation is to live together and improve together and for sure the team has the talent to do that.’
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