Friday, June 14, 2024

A big club like Chelsea must play on front foot – Mauricio Pochettino

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Apr 2024

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Mauricio Pochettino said Chelsea’s status as a big club dictates the style that has helped them loosen their goalscoring inhibitions this season.

With nine Premier League games still to play the team have already scored 15 more goals than they managed in the entirety of the last campaign, when they recorded the club’s lowest return in almost a century.

After failing to find the net in three of Pochettino’s first six games in charge, including consecutive blanks against Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth and Aston Villa, there has been a significant change in the Argentinian’s approach, favouring a more fluid, open style that has seen goals conceded as well as scored.

The 4-3 win against Manchester United on Thursday means there have been a combined 33 goals for and against Chelsea in their last six games in all competitions at Stamford Bridge.

In total there have been 10 games this season in which the team has either scored or conceded four or more goals – or both, in the case of their 4-4 draw with Manchester City – whilst the swashbuckling style has also seen 13 penalties awarded in their favour.

By contrast, the team went the entirety of the 2022-23 campaign without scoring four in a match.

“The quality is our philosophy,” said Pochettino, who takes his team to Bramall Lane to face the league’s bottom side Sheffield United on Sunday.

“We are always thinking to go forward, to create chances. We are in the top four in the Premier League at creating big chances.

“It’s about philosophy. We see different clubs that try to get goals or chances through set-pieces, but we are Chelsea. We are a big club. A big club is about creating a philosophy to play good football, and play in the opposite half.

“It’s about ideas, about how we taste football. We have a lot of attempts in the last third. It’s why we get (so many) penalties. That is a good quality of the team, and of the football we want to apply here at Chelsea.”

Chelsea have forced themselves into the reckoning for European qualification off the back of their longest unbeaten league run in almost 18 months.

Despite not playing they climbed to ninth in the league on Saturday courtesy of Brighton’s 3-0 defeat to Arsenal.

They have games in hand which if won would see them overtake the two teams directly above them, Newcastle and West Ham, and draw to within two points of sixth-place Manchester United, who play Liverpool on Sunday.

Sixth is almost certain be a Europa League qualifying spot, though they could also reach the competition by winning the FA Cup.

Pochettino will lead his team out in the semi-final against City at Wembley on April 20.

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