Mauricio Pochettino sends Harry Kane message to Armando Broja as striker eyes Chelsea run


Mauricio Pochettino hopes that Armando Broja can continue to prove himself at Chelsea, after the 22-year-old scored an opportunistic goal to cap off his first Premier League start of the season. It was a moment of luck combined with a clinical edge that provided Chelsea with a two-goal advantage to secure their first away win of the season.

The Blues forward has made a long journey to Chelsea's starting XI via Vitesse Arnhem and Southampton. He played a bit-part role last term before missing 10 months of football due to an injury suffered in a friendly match during the mid-season break imposed by the World Cup.

Broja's chance arrived as he continued to build up his fitness following his ACL injury, and perhaps landed even sooner than many hoped, with Nicolas Jackson suspended for the clash against the Cottagers. Pochettino believes that patience is a key part to making at a club like Chelsea, though some stars are capable of forcing their way into plans.

The 51-year-old head coach said: “I think he is young. If you want to play for a big club like Chelsea you need to have patience and show. That you can do it. Of course it is difficult, for Armando, for every young player. Sometimes when there are injuries when a player is suspended or the squad is not big enough then you need to use the young players from the academy or because they have broken the door down and said I am here. Like the case with Harry Kane. But of course he needs to prove himself and give everything to be another number one striker in this great club. Maybe I can find the solution in the club. But it is important to give everything and try to show that you deserve to play here.”`

Pochettino stopped short of declaring Broja ready to take on the full burden of being Chelsea's primary striker but admitted that he has improved in the short time the pair have been able to work together.

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He said: “He is better. I only have known him from three months ago, I can only compare him from then, but in three months he has improved in all the aspects, and see now we need to give him time to feel he is capable to provide to the club and the team and himself, and that he is capable of coping with the pressure of being the number one striker at Chelsea.”

After a difficult start to the 2023/24 season, victory over Fulham has offered the west London side a turning point. It saw Chelsea record their second win in as many matches, with the potential of earning another three points against a Burnley side yet to win at Turf Moor.

Broja's strike offered a pivotal moment as it came less than a minute following the opening strike from Mykhailo Mudryk. Pochettino saw his Tottenham tenure sparked into life from a deflected Harry Kane goal against Aston Villa back in November 2013, could Broja have done the same?

Pochettino said: "Maybe, it was the …. the coincidence again! Why not? Maybe! Things happen for something … Maybe.

"Yes, you need these things. The best players, the best coaches, always you need in some points these things that change the present and build a better future. I hope that it was a signal, like you say. A thing that can be the start of something good and to build the success in Chelsea – for him and for us."

Chelsea's victory may have offered them a launchpad for the season as a whole, but Broja's strike could also prove an important moment himself. The former Southampton loanee has only scored two senior Chelsea goals but has already proven his talent to Pochettino. The Blues boss still needs to see more however.

He said: "It was different [with Kane]. I cannot say he is like him. He is young, he has talent. It’s only up to him now to show he can cope with the pressure to play here and to improve. Because he scored the other day we are not going to say that he is going to play tomorrow or he is going to be in the starting XI and now he is a big star. Armando needs time. He needs to improve in many aspects, in many areas. He has the talent, of course. He is a striker that can score goals. Yes. And he needs to prove he can be a top scorer in the Premier League. Still a lot of things to do."

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