Mauricio Pochettino admits Chelsea ‘not good enough’ as fans vent ire after loss

By Sports Desk February 04, 2024

Mauricio Pochettino admitted Chelsea are “not good enough” after they were beaten 4-2 by Wolves in front of a furious home support at Stamford Bridge.

Matheus Cunha’s hat-trick earned Gary O’Neil’s team a first victory on this ground since 1979.

The hosts meanwhile were booed off at half-time and again at the final whistle, with fans directing their anger at both the players and their manager following a 10th league defeat in 23 games this season.

“I think we are all not good enough at the moment, that’s the reality,” said Pochettino. “Myself also. I’m the first responsible for the situation. What we were showing today was that we are not good enough. I agree 100 per cent.

“We didn’t manage the situation properly. No one can be safe. I don’t want to come here and say I am the best and the players the worst. I think we are all responsible. But the players need to take responsibility also.

“At the moment we are not matching the history of the club. We need to accept that and to be critical but we cannot give up.”

Cole Palmer’s goal after 19 minutes looked to have put Chelsea en route to a fifth home league win in a row, slotting in from close range after Moises Caicedo’s clever ball had picked him out.

But that was to be as good as things got for the home side and within minutes their long capitulation to Wolves had begun. First, Caicedo gave the ball away in midfield and left a gap into which Cunha ran, cutting on to his right foot and hitting a shot that deflected in off Thiago Silva.

Chelsea had more of the ball but Wolves were more efficient and clinical in possession, summed up by the manner in which they took the lead before half-time. Nelson Semedo fed Pedro Neto down the right, his cross was met by Rayan Ait Nouri in the centre, who fired the ball against Axel Disasi and in for an own goal.

Wolves’ third brought fury from home supporters, who had booed their team off at the break. Now they sung the name of former owner Roman Abramovich, as anger at co-owner Todd Boehly’s stalled rebuild of their club boiled over. The goal, Cunha’s second, was well finished off from Neto’s cut-back as Wolves countered with devastating precision again.

Cunha got his hat-trick after Malo Gusto conceded a late penalty. Silva’s late headed goal from a corner for a Chelsea consolation could not take the sheen off Wolves’ victory, nor mask the depth of the Chelsea’s problems.

The Blues led for barely three minutes before Wolves pegged them back, a factor Pochettino believes ultimately led to their confidence and concentration collapsing.

“We didn’t start badly,” he said. “Then the way we conceded the first goal, the team suffered the impact. Rather than build momentum for us and to trust our play, it was a difficult moment to manage after that. The energy dropped.

“The main problem is we feel the pressure and the stress to win, to play well, to perform. We didn’t have time after we scored to build our momentum in the game and to dominate and to play easy and to feel confident.”

Wolves boss O’Neil reflected on a victory that lifted his team above Chelsea and into the top half of the table.

“We have comeback from setbacks a lot,” he said.

“We suffered heartbreak three days ago after working our socks off to get back against Manchester United (before losing 4-3). But it was straight to business.

“Really pleased, 32 points is something the group should be proud of at this stage and let’s see where we can go.”

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