Mauricio Pochettino ‘desperate’ to win trophy after reaching Wembley final

By Sports Desk January 24, 2024

Mauricio Pochettino said he is desperate to win the Carabao Cup in his first season at Chelsea after watching his team sweep aside Middlesbrough 6-1 to reach next month’s final at Wembley.

Stamford Bridge has suffered from a quiet atmosphere in recent months, often exacerbated by Chelsea failing to break teams down early, but a repeat here never looked like being a risk as they booked a meeting with either Liverpool or Fulham on February 25.

“I’m desperate to win a trophy here,” said Pochettino. “We won in three trophies in one and a half years at Paris (St Germain) and we want to win here.

“I’m desperate to win. That is the headline.

“It’s really important for us, we’re going to have Fulham or Liverpool, two amazing teams, it will be difficult. But now is the moment to believe we can win.”

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg at the Riverside Stadium, the hosts tore into their Championship opponents and banished memories of a chastening loss on Teesside.

Boro’s captain Jonny Howson inadvertently got the ball rolling by diverting past his own goalkeeper after 15 minutes, though Armando Broja was poised to tap home had the defender not intervened.

From there on, Chelsea steamrollered Michael Carrick’s side. Enzo Fernandez scored after being set up by good link-up play from Axel Disasi and the excellent Raheem Sterling, then Sterling feeding the surging Disasi to sweep home the third.

Boro caused problems for themselves trying to play out from the back, the match-winner from the first leg Hayden Hackney losing possession and gifting Cole Palmer Chelsea’s fourth before half-time.

Palmer, the top scorer for Pochettino’s side since his move from Manchester City, made it five late on before substitute Noni Madueke curled home via a deflection.

Morgan Rogers’ goal was greeted with a roar from travelling fans who had long since their Wembley dream slip away.

Pochettino added: “Now we need to prepare for Friday against Aston Villa (in the FA Cup), but this is an important step for us. The confidence and the belief in ourselves is so important.

“That is going to help because of the motivation. Players who are so close to coming back (from injury) – tomorrow, maybe a few injured players will want to come for training, seeing that the final is close.”

Boro manager Carrick reflected on a tie that ultimately proved too great a hurdle for his side despite heroics on Teesside two weeks ago.

“(The players) will learn from that after they have gotten over the disappointment,” he said.

“We had a big night at the Riverside where we managed to beat a really good Chelsea team. We just couldn’t get it done here unfortunately.”

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    Mauricio Pochettino slammed Chelsea's lack of consistency after they were thrashed 5-0 by Arsenal on Tuesday, saying: "When we have bad days, we are so bad." 

    Chelsea travelled to the Emirates Stadium looking to close the gap to the Premier League's top seven, but instead saw their European hopes further dented by a chastening 5-0 defeat. 

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    The fact that dismal performance came just three days after Chelsea pushed Manchester City close in the teams' FA Cup semi-final only served to rile Pochettino.

    "We are showing this inconsistency and that is why we are where we are," Pochettino said.

    "We are able to have an amazing performance and then one like this. When we have bad days, we are so bad. It's difficult to talk. We were talking in the same way after last season.

    "We put in a fantastic performance at Wembley and then today, you can lose a game at Arsenal but in the way we competed… why one day, three days ago and then today in this way?"

    Chelsea have now conceded 57 goals in the Premier League this season, their outright most in a single campaign in the competition, having previously shipped 55 in both 1994-95 and 1996-97.

    In attack, they managed just one shot on target in the absence of Cole Palmer, with the Premier League's joint-leading goalscorer missing out due to illness.

    Asked about the impact of losing Palmer, Pochettino added: "It wasn't the reason we lost the game, but you lose such a creative player that helps to play in the lines. 

    "It's difficult to lose players in these circumstances – that made the management very difficult. But today was more than that.

    "We didn't compete from the beginning and it was difficult to be in the game against a team fighting for the Premier League. It's no coincidence. 

    "We need to compete in a different way but we are talking too much. We want to be in a different position next season. We need to take decisions."

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    The former Chelsea forward made it 4-0, his shot pinging in off the post with Petrovic rooted, before White provided the moment of the match with a cross-shot that sailed across the face of goal and in from Martin Odegaard’s pass.

    “It was a big performance, collectively and individually,” said Arteta, whose side moved clear at the top ahead of Sunday’s derby against Tottenham but have played a game more than Liverpool and two more than Manchester City.

    “I thought we were really good, against a really good team that was in great form and were going to ask us a lot of questions. I think we responded really well.

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    “Now it is difficult to see the future because after this game we feel disappointed,” he said. “It is difficult to talk about objectives.

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