Mauricio Pochettino is ‘waking up’ winning mentality at Chelsea – Malo Gusto

By Sports Desk February 23, 2024

Malo Gusto believes Mauricio Pochettino is “waking up” a winning mentality in Chelsea’s young squad as they prepare for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.

The Argentinian’s resurgent team face Liverpool at Wembley looking to claim the club’s first silverware since co-owner Todd Boehly took over in May 2022.

In that time there has been an almost total overhaul of personnel both on the pitch and behind the scenes, with over £1billion spent on assembling a team with the youngest average age in the Premier League.

After a slow start there was been notable improvement in recent weeks, culminating in a fine performance in ending champions Manchester City’s winning run at home with a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

However, Pochettino and his players are yet to convince everyone. The team were booed off by fans following their last home game, a 4-2 defeat to Wolves at Stamford Bridge, with supporters’ frustrations also being directed at the manager personally.

Sunday’s final could be a key indicator as to whether a corner has truly been turned following the City draw and impressive wins away at Aston Villa and Crystal Palace.

And defender Gusto – a key figure during the recent upturn in results, deputising at right-back for injured captain and England international Reece James – praised his manager for working to instil a winning attitude.

“He (Pochettino) is here for this,” said the 20-year-old. “He knows he has to wake up our mentality, to wake up our desire to win everything. We are Chelsea and a big club like Chelsea has to win everything, to keep fighting.

“He helps us a lot. He has tried to show us the desire to win, to keep fighting against every team. He talks to us a lot about tactics, technique and everything.

“He is a good person as well. He tries to help us a lot on the pitch and off it as well. He is a good coach for this young team.”

Gusto has been one of the outstanding performers of Chelsea’s recent recruits.

Signed from Lyon for £30.7million in January 2023, he was loaned back to the Ligue 1 side for remainder of last season before making his mark during the current campaign.

He has made 24 appearances in all competitions, after a recurring hamstring injury limited James to just nine.

A forward player in his youth, he has evolved into an effective attacking full-back and he has made four assists in the league, most recently setting up Conor Gallagher’s equaliser in the 3-1 win at Palace with a pinpoint low cross.

He made his senior debut for France as a substitute in a 2-1 win against the Netherlands in October.

He said he was not daunted by the prospect of dislodging James from the team before signing for Chelsea, adding: “I wasn’t thinking about what could happen. I just wanted to take my chance.

“If I can play, I play. I’ve stayed focus on my football. I work every day to become better, to improve. That’s what I do.

“We are not similar, (James) and me. He’s a bit different, but when we are on the pitch we try to keep a mentality to score and to assist.

“I work for (getting better going forward). I have good cardio, good legs. This is my football. When I was younger, I was the same, running every day. When your team-mates see you run a lot, you want to run a lot with them.”

The defender came in for particular praise for the way he dealt defensively with City’s Jeremy Doku during Saturday’s draw at the Etihad Stadium.

“I came to Chelsea because I wanted to play against great players. I think the game was complicated, but it was good for me to learn.

“(The praise) is nice, but I don’t really care about it, I just want to to become a better person and better player.

“The game against Doku, people talk about it, but it’s just one game. Maybe this weekend I could be s*** and the game after I could be better.”

Related items

  • Emiliano Martinez stars as Aston Villa beat Lille on penalties Emiliano Martinez stars as Aston Villa beat Lille on penalties

    Emiliano Martinez was the unsurprising star of a dramatic penalty shootout as Aston Villa edged past Lille and into the semi-final of the Europa Conference League.

    The Argentina goalkeeper, who helped his country win the World Cup 18 months ago, produced some similar heroics in France, saving spot-kicks from Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Andre to earn a 4-3 shootout win after the quarter-final had ended 3-3 on aggregate after two legs.

    There was plenty of his trademark dark arts on show as he shushed the baiting French crowd, who had not forgotten what happened in Qatar, and then caused confusion by receiving a yellow card from the referee in the middle of the shootout, having already been booked in normal time.

    But bookings are not carried forward into the shootout meaning he could stay on and send Villa into a first European semi-final since 1982.

    They were not deserving of victory, though, as they were outplayed for the majority of the second leg in France, with goals from Yusuf Yazici and Andre overturning a 2-1 first leg advantage.

    Matty Cash’s 87th-minute strike sent it to extra-time, with Martinez coming up trumps in the shootout to give boss Unai Emery an eighth successive European quarter-final victory.

    The Spaniard, so prolific in the Europa League with Sevilla and Villarreal will be eyeing another European trophy.

  • Dujon Sterling urges Rangers to change mentality after poor run Dujon Sterling urges Rangers to change mentality after poor run

    Dujon Sterling has called for a mentality change from Rangers for the season’s finale after a string of poor performances.

    The goalless draw at Dundee on Wednesday night in their game in hand left Philippe Clement’s side three points behind cinch Premiership leaders Celtic with five post-split fixtures remaining, which includes a trip to Parkhead.

    The loss of a valuable two points which swings the title further towards Celtic came after their first ever defeat against Ross County on Sunday and a 3-3 draw against the Hoops at Ibrox, where they had to come from behind twice to salvage a point.

    Now the Light Blues need to focus on Sunday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts at Hampden Park and Sterling, who signed from Chelsea last summer, was brutally honest about the current state of affairs at the Govan club who now have two wins in eight in all competition and he is looking for rapid change.

    Asked about possibly owing a performance on Sunday to Clement, who put up a stout defence of his players after the Dundee disappointment, and the fans who booed the players off in angry frustration, utility player Sterling said: “We owe ourselves a performance as well because we have been s*** the past three games.

    “We need to re-set and do it for the fans as well because they have come home and away, backing us, singing for 90, 95, 100 minutes and we owe it to them.

    “Obviously the results have been disappointing in the past two weeks and I know they have seen it before over the past years. Hopefully we can change that but we will see.

    “We are fighting for a title and the way we are playing is as if we are not playing for anything, like the season is dead and it is a dead rubber game.

    “Somehow it has got to switch. I don’t have the words to do it or know how to do it. It is a team thing, not just one person and not just the gaffer.

    “We just have to have that belief that we can (come back). We had the togetherness, we had the belief. We still have the togetherness but I don’t know if the belief is there.

    ” I think everyone has to switch their minds that we can have that belief that we can do this. It is not good enough on our part. We have a lot of work to do and we need to re-set.

    “We need to get our heads in the game, switch our mentality because for now, it is not going in the right direction.

    “There is still a lot of games to be played and there’s still things to fight for.

    “Of course anything can happen. We have five games left, five cup finals and hopefully the fans can push us to get through them.

    “The dressing room is down at the minute. But we dust this one off, get back to the training ground and review it, park it and focus on the semi-final.”

  • Reggae Boyz to host Dominican Republic at National Stadium on June 6 to open second round of 2026 World Cup Qualifying Reggae Boyz to host Dominican Republic at National Stadium on June 6 to open second round of 2026 World Cup Qualifying

    Jamaica will open the second round of 2026 World Cup Qualifying on June 6 when they host the Dominican Republic at the National Stadium in Kingston.

    The team will then travel to Dominica to play their second game on June 9 to complete the first two rounds of matchdays in the second round.

    The other teams involved in Group E are Guatemala and the British Virgin Islands, who won a two-legged playoff against the US Virgin Islands to secure their spot.

    The other two matchdays will be played in June 2025.

    The announcement was made by Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts at the federation’s official launch of Jamaica’s World Cup Qualifying campaign on Thursday.

    “The size of your rear view mirror is so very small compared to the big mirror in front of you. The JFF has no intention of using our rear view mirror. We’re not going to engage anybody in anything that would have been the past. The big picture now is ahead of us,” said Ricketts.

    Ricketts also spoke on a qualifying process that will see the Reggae Boyz not having to contend with regional powerhouses the USA, Mexico and Canada.

    “A lot of people have said that it is going to be easy but we still have to work as hard as we can,” he said.

    “We don’t want to drop the ball here and this was why we engaged coach Hallgrimsson. We understand the importance of the development program that will take us past 2026. We want to leave a legacy at the JFF,” he added.

    With hosts Mexico, United States and Canada, all earning automatic qualification, the qualifiers will be contested among the other 32 FIFA affiliated Concacaf member associations. The second round of qualifiers will see the two first round winners, joining the confederation's remaining 28 participating member associations.

    Following single round-robin matches (two home and two away) in the second round, the six group winners and runners-up will progress to the final round (12 teams total).

     

     

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.