Mauricio Pochettino has blamed Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat by Manchester United on his players being fatigued, but admits that is ‘not an excuse’ for failing to ‘match the Red Devils’ energy and aggression’.
After Robert Sanchez expertly kept out a penalty from Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay struck twice to seal victory for Erik ten Hag’s side at Old Trafford.
While Cole Palmer pulled one back just before half time for the visitors, the west London outfit suffered their sixth defeat of the season, but Pochettino, speaking in his post-match press conference said he was not worried about the defeat.
‘I’m not worried because there’s too many circumstances which need to explain why we didn’t perform,’ he said to Sky Sports.
The Blues have had to battle an extensive injury list so far this season and have also seen key players be ruled out serving suspensions, with Conor Gallagher missing today’s game after being sent off during their win against Brighton at the weekend.
Mauricio Pochettino has blamed his side’s loss to Man United on his players being fatigued
Chelsea came into the match on Wednesday having beaten Brighton 3-2 at Stamford Bridge with 10 men
While Pochettino admitted his team did not match the levels of Man United, he added that their tiredness was not an excuse
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Earlier this week, Pochettino had also opened up on how he had been showing his side several videos of the ‘silly’ yellow cards they had picked up this season, in a bid to help reduce the number of suspensions in his side.
And the Argentine manager claimed that having to play with 10 men during that match for so long, accompanied by their quick turn around and trip to Manchester may have drained the energy levels of his side.
‘To play with Brighton with one less for so long may have affected the energy, and we need to recover too many players from injury, to have different options and be more competitive,’ he said.
‘That’s not an excuse, only that they were better. In which percentage? Maybe 10 per cent, but we need to be focused, recover the players and get ready for Sunday.
‘We miss players, we played nearly with the same players we faced Brighton with, and we were a man down for 60 minutes.’
The Blues currently have a long list of injuries with Romeo Lavia, Christopher Nkunku, Trevoh Chalobah and Ben Chilwell, all currently side-lined.
But Pochettino turned his attention to their opponents, claiming that United had a little longer in between games, following their 1-0 defeat by Newcastle on Saturday.
‘Manchester United had a day more to prepare, and we had many young players on our bench. It’s not an excuse, but that’s the reality.
‘I’m not disappointed because we gave everything, but we didn’t match the energy or aggressiveness. We created chances, maybe enough to draw the game.’
United, meanwhile, have been in the spotlight this week after the Red Devils banned several journalists from coming to Erik ten Hag’s press conference.
Reflecting on the match, the Dutch manager claimed that while he enjoyed watching his team on Wednesday night, he added that there’s a long way to go before they’re the finished article.
Scott McTominay scored twice in the game to seal a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford
Cole Palmer pulled one back for the Blues just before half-time, with Bruno Fernandes also missing a penalty in the match
it is Chelsea’s sixth defeat of the campaign, with the Blues now 10th in the Premier League
‘We dominated the opponent in and out of possession. It was very enjoyable how the team played today.
‘It hasn’t felt like a crisis for us. We’ve kept calm, worked on the process and we know where we have to build and what we have to build on.
‘We’re going in the right direction, we don’t get distracted from criticism around us, we are very critical on ourselves and know we are not quickly satisfied, we want to do better.
‘If we do things badly, we want to put that right and want to keep going in the process. The season is long, we have to improve a lot if we want to be successful, but this team is capable of that.’