Mauricio Pochettino faces Antonio Conte Chelsea repeat after 'risky' comments


Mauricio Pochettino sent a clear message to his Chelsea players following the Newcastle defeat at St. James' Park. The Blues conceded four goals once again - but showed little fight against Eddie Howe's depleted team.

Speaking after the defeat, Pochettino launched a scathing rant about his players' energy and commitment against Newcastle. The Chelsea boss said: "Both disappointed and angry, it's normal to blame yourself when this type of performance happens and we need to blame ourselves.

"I am not talking about mistakes. I am talking more about energy, we were not in the right... we were not prepared in the best way to compete today. That is my concern.

"We thought we were ready to compete today but we didn't in the way the competition demanded. Even if Newcastle wasn't great, it was an easy win.

"To come here, Chelsea, and show it would be difficult for them to play to win the game and beat us. It was so easy the way that we conceded, the way we were soft in every single challenge, we did not show we were playing for something important.

"That is why it made me angry and disappointed. Even if we talk about being a young team, we need to learn. These type of games make me very, very, very angry because it is about showing more personality and character. Okay, we are young but we can not miss this type of opportunity to show our best.

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"We can not come from Tottenham, Man City, [where] around the world people praised Chelsea and then…’ok. I stop one step before, I don’t do the effort in the right moment. Ok no problem it is going to fix my teammate in behind’.

"That is a problem. We need to be more solid in this area. Mental of course and attitude, it is not attitude, it is about showing more strength in our mental game and be ready to compete. This is not the same that play football. I can play football, you can play football but to compete? I want to be ready to compete but today we didn’t."

Pochettino's comments, whilst damning, had plenty of truth behind them given that Chelsea were outplayed by Newcastle. However, the Argentine manager has now been warned his comments were 'risky' and could upset the dressing room if results do not improve.

Former Tottenham boss Dean Saunders told talkSPORT: "What do you do this morning now, Pochettino? He's actually come out and said they've not worked hard enough. That is a risky statement to make when you’re not winning."

Pochettino even suggested he could cancel his players' scheduled day off on Sunday - but this did not appear to happen given that Nicolas Jackson was spotted visiting his former Villarreal teammates less than 24 hours following the defeat at St. James' Park. If the Chelsea manager continues to go down the route of calling out his players publicly, it could see the club face a repeat of Antonio Conte's situation at Stamford Bridge when he was in charge.

Conte openly criticised his players in public at times throughout his tenure, but one particular moment from the Italian shares a lot of similarities with Pochettino's rant after the loss on Saturday. Speaking after a 1-1 draw against West Ham back in 2018, Conte said: "I'm very frustrated and I hope my players go home and stay frustrated because, in this way, we have the right mentality.

"Otherwise, if we accept this result and say we were unlucky today, we are not building anything positive for the future. If we are not able to win this type of game, we are talking about what? About what? I like to continue to say 'We need to continue to work and improve', but you must win this game if you want to reach a target.

"Other teams are clinical. They create chances, they are ready to suffer and win the game."

Just months later, Conte was sacked as Chelsea finished fifth in the Premier League - missing out on Champions League qualification. Pochettino may need to choose his words carefully in future if he wants to maintain a positive atmosphere at the club and achieve success.

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