Mauricio Pochettino hailed a “turning point” in Chelsea’s strained relationship with their fans after Cole Palmer’s stoppage-time double completed a hat-trick and sealed an unlikely 4-3 win against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

United looked to have the match won until, in the seventh minute of stoppage time, Diogo Dalot fell into Noni Madueke to concede a penalty from which Palmer scored to seemingly rescue a point.

But there was more drama to come. With almost the game’s final kick, Palmer blasted at goal and, via a deflection from Scott McTominay, scored to bury Erik ten Hag’s side and spark joyous scenes amongst home supporters.

Relations between fans and the club have soured as Chelsea’s fortunes have plummeted, but the response at the end was one of unbridled delight, with Pochettino predicting a fresh start off the back of this win.

“It was amazing,” he said. “We were the better team today and it was fair we scored in the the last minute.

“We started really well, 2-0 (up), the game was under control, then we made a mistake and suffered an emotional impact. It wasn’t easy to deal with. In the second half we controlled the game (but) conceded in transitions.

“It was important to finish like that, creating the connection between our fans and players. It’s a very good thing that happened today. It should be a turning point for the fans’ trust in the team.”

It had all looked like being a far simpler affair when his team raced into a two-goal lead inside 20 minutes, Conor Gallagher squeezing a shot beneath Andre Onana’s dive, then a penalty clipped into the corner by Palmer.

United were overwhelmed by Pochettino’s side attacking ferociously, but an error by Moises Caicedo changed the nature of the game as a loose ball straight to Alejandro Garnacho saw the forward race away to score.

The game was level minutes later as Bruno Fernandes stealed away at the far post to nod Dalot’s cross beyond Djordje Petrovic.

Garnacho’s header from Antony’s superb ball midway through the half looked like being the winner.

Then came Palmer’s crazy intervention at the death, as Chelsea breathed life into their bid to qualify for Europe.

“It was really unfair (to be losing),” said Pochettino. “Why were we losing the game. Football is like this. But we always kept believing.

“We were saying to the players ‘two minutes, two minutes’. (At 2-2) we believed we could score the winning goal.

“It was a must-win game if we wanted to reduce the gap above us. It was so, so important.”

A visibly downcast Ten Hag reflected on poor decision-making that led to his team’s defeat.

“We started poor, making individual errors,” he said. “But I had the feeling we were dominating and we fought ourselves back.

“We were in a winning poison with very good football and scoring great goals. Then in stoppage time, we didn’t bring the win over the line.

“You have to do your job, you have to make the right decisions, and we didn’t react quick enough to avoid this situation.

“We dominated the game, especially our wide players were a danger: Garnacho, Antony.

“We have to make better decisions. You saw how we score from counters. We can be such a massive threat and we’ve seen again today an example.

“But we have to read when to keep the ball, especially when you are winning. Keep the ball, pass and move and switch the play instead of giving it way.”

Mauricio Pochettino hailed a “turning point” in Chelsea’s strained relationship with their fans after Cole Palmer’s stoppage-time double completed a hat-trick and sealed a 4-3 win against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

United looked to have the match won until, in the seventh minute of stoppage time, Diogo Dalot fell into Noni Madueke to concede a penalty from which Palmer scored to seemingly rescue a point.

But there was more drama to come. With almost the game’s final kick, Palmer blasted at goal and, via a deflection from Scott McTominay, scored to bury Erik ten Hag’s side and spark joyous scenes amongst home supporters.

Relations between fans and the club have soured as Chelsea’s fortunes have plummeted, but the response at the end was one of unbridled delight, with Pochettino predicting a fresh start off the back of this win.

“It was amazing,” he said. “We were the better team today and it was fair we scored in the the last minute.

“We started really well, 2-0 (up), the game was under control, then we made a mistake and suffered an emotional impact. It wasn’t easy to deal with. In the second half we controlled the game (but) conceded in transitions.

“It was important to finish like that, creating the connection between our fans and players. It’s a very good thing that happened today. It should be a turning point for the fans’ trust in the team.”

It had all looked like being a far simpler affair when his team raced into a two-goal lead inside 20 minutes, Conor Gallagher squeezing a shot beneath Andre Onana’s dive, then a penalty clipped into the corner by Palmer.

United were overwhelmed by Pochettino’s side attacking ferociously, but an error by Moises Caicedo changed the nature of the game as a loose ball straight to Alejandro Garnacho saw the forward race away to score.

The game was level minutes later as Bruno Fernandes stealed away at the far post to nod Dalot’s cross beyond Djordje Petrovic.

Garnacho’s header from Antony’s superb ball midway through the half looked like being the winner.

Then came Palmer’s crazy intervention at the death, as Chelsea breathed life into their bid to qualify for Europe.

“It was really unfair (to be losing),” said Pochettino. “Why were we losing the game. Football is like this. But we always kept believing.

“We were saying to the players ‘two minutes, two minutes’. (At 2-2) we believed we could score the winning goal.

“It was a must-win game if we wanted to reduce the gap above us. It was so, so important.”

A visibly downcast Ten Hag reflected on poor decision-making that led to his team’s defeat.

“We started poor, making individual errors,” he said. “But I had the feeling we were dominating and we fought ourselves back.

“We were in a winning poison with very good football and scoring great goals. Then in stoppage time, we didn’t bring the win over the line.

“You have to do your job, you have to make the right decisions, and we didn’t react quick enough to avoid this situation.

“We dominated the game, especially our wide players were a danger: Garnacho, Antony.

“We have to make better decisions. You saw how we score from counters. We can be such a massive threat and we’ve seen again today an example.

“But we have to read when to keep the ball, especially when you are winning. Keep the ball, pass and move and switch the play instead of giving it way.”

Mauricio Pochettino warned his players hard work is still required at Chelsea despite the increase to their status and bank balance that comes with joining the club.

A chaotic campaign that has seen the first-team squad decimated by injuries threatens to peter out, with the club marooned in 12th place ahead of the visit of Manchester United to Stamford Bridge on Thursday night.

It comes five days after the league’s second-bottom side Burnley left west London with a 2-2 draw despite playing the whole of the second half with 10 men, as relations between the club and its supporters seemed to sink further into discord.

The club has an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley to come later in the month, likely to be their only chance of salvaging a dismal season.

Chelsea are on course for their second bottom-half league finish in a row and Pochettino called on his players to use the final weeks of the campaign to follow his own hard-working example and show supporters why they were signed as part of a £1billion overhaul of the squad.

“When I was in Espanyol, my first job as a coach, I was on the training ground at seven o’clock every morning,” said the Argentinian.

“Then I moved to Southampton, six-thirty. Then Tottenham, seven. Then Paris (St Germain), six in the morning. Now six forty-five. You can ask the guy on security.

“It’s not going to change after 15 years. My passion is here. My motivation is football. You increase your bank account but that cannot put me in a comfortable zone to say ‘now I will arrive at nine o’clock and leave at two o’clock’. I need to keep pushing myself.

“If (a player) arrives from another club where there was less money, less expectation but now I arrive here because people believe I am so good, what do I need to do? It’s to arrive early, it’s to work more, it’s to run more, be focused more.

“It’s more responsibility now. We feel that responsibility.”

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust wrote to the owners and senior management last month to communicate their dismay at the direction the club is taking under the leadership of Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium.

The letter warned of potentially irreparable damage that is being done to the relationship between the club and its supporters, as the team has gone from being Champions League regulars to a mid-table side in less than two years.

Pochettino rejected the suggestion players have already adopted the view that the season is doomed and there is little left to salvage.

“If you are in a comfort zone, you drop in your level, you drop in your standard,” he said. “I don’t say that that has happened here. Too many other things have happened.”

Mauricio Pochettino has defended Conor Gallagher after the midfielder received abuse on social media for failing to high-five a mascot.

Chelsea said in a statement that the “defamatory comments” made towards Gallagher were “completely unacceptable” and that the video had been taken out of context.

The incident occurred in the tunnel immediately ahead of kick-off when the Blues played Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, with the 24-year-old seemingly not noticing that one of the mascots had held up his hand.

Pochettino rejected any suggestion that the player acted intentionally, and condemned the online reaction to the incident.

“It has upset me so much,” he said. “No one wants to do this with this intention. When you are focusing on playing and starting the game, that sometimes can happen.

“People always try to find things to create a mess. I know Conor. Come on – there’s never that intention. Conor is a great kid and always is caring about everything. I hate how people feel free to abuse on social media.”

It is the second time this season that a Chelsea player has been subjected to abuse on social media, after captain Reece James spoke out earlier this year about unfair criticism he had received when he was ruled out with injury.

Pochettino has spoken out previously about the impact of online attacks against players, and re-emphasised the urgency in ridding the game of the problem.

“Today, abuse of people is so easy,” he said. “Whenever this type of thing happens, we (must not) give too much attention to the type of people that want to create it, to insult and abuse other people. Please stop.

“How is it possible to believe that Conor’s intention is to ignore a mascot? Come on. It makes me very sad.

“Our responsibility is to try to ignore this type of thing. The people that try to create it never help our lives. They don’t deserve attention.

“The problem with social media today is it’s like a compulsory thing if you want to communicate. It measures your value, depending on the followers you have.

“It puts value on you in front of society. That is the problem. We’re seeing too many things like this that are so wrong in society.”

Pochettino also highlighted the example of Barcelona defender Inigo Martinez, who this week was filmed getting out of his car to remonstrate with a fan who had criticised him verbally.

The reaction to Martinez’s handling of the situation has been mixed, with some criticising him for confronting the supporter whilst others have offered their backing.

Pochettino suggested the player had been deliberately provoked in order that his reaction could be filmed and posted online.

“It is society that consumes (this material),” he said. “All that people are interested in are bad things.

“We are a bit responsible also. We opened the door, all the documentaries. People want to see when we are fighting but never things that are good, happy things. They want to find the wrong things. That is the society that we are all involved in.”

Mauricio Pochettino admitted his Chelsea players are relying on Cole Palmer to get them out of trouble during games this season.

The summer signing from Manchester City is top scorer at Stamford Bridge after his two goals against Burnley on Saturday took him to 16 for the campaign.

His impact has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise tumultuous season for Pochettino and his team, who languish in the bottom half of the Premier League table after failing to overcome the league’s second-bottom side at home despite playing against 10 men for the entirety of the second half.

Palmer scored a first-half penalty to break the deadlock then, after Burnley had levelled via Josh Cullen’s volley, looked to have won it with a finely taken finish into the corner with 12 minutes to play.

But Chelsea were immediately undone by a header from a corner from defender Dara O’Shea as Vincent Kompany’s side rescued an unlikely point and doomed home fans to another frustrating result.

Few players have lived up to Palmer’s example this season, with Saturday’s meek surrender after twice taking the lead a prime case study in a campaign that has gone badly awry.

“He’s a good example for the rest,” said Pochettino.

“From day one he has taken responsibility. When the team struggle to find solutions, they give the ball to him.

“It’s a dream (to have him). He brings very positive things for the team. And for him to have the possibility to play games he didn’t play in the last year for Manchester City.

“Now he has the continuity and consistency, he’s showing the capacity that we thought he could add to the team.”

Chelsea looked to have the game firmly under control when Clarets defender Lorenz Assignon was red carded for fouling Mykhailo Mudryk just before half-time, conceding the penalty from which Palmer scored with an impudent Panenka chip.

But despite peppering the visitors’ goal with 33 shots they failed to stymie Burnley’s threat and never really looking comfortable when out of possession.

That they extended their unbeaten league run to five games, their longest in almost 18 months, was of little consolation to supporters at the final whilst – nor, thinks Pochettino, to Palmer.

“It’s a collective,” he said. “He cannot be happy (after a result like this). He is disappointed.”

Mauricio Pochettino conceded Chelsea are missing something after they failed to defeat 10-man Burnley in what he reflected had been a “must-win” game at Stamford Bridge, which ended 2-2.

Cole Palmer’s goal, drilled into the bottom corner from Raheem Sterling’s delightful flick with 12 minutes to play, looked to have nicked it for the hosts, restoring the lead after Josh Cullen had whacked Burnley level on the volley early in the second half.

Palmer had earlier given Chelsea the lead from the penalty spot, converting after Lorenz Assignon had fouled Mykhailo Mudryk and been shown a second yellow card, whilst a furious Vincent Kompany was also dismissed from the touchline for remonstrating.

But Pochettino was left to rue another frustrating result when, minutes after Palmer had made it 2-1, Dara O’Shea got forward from a corner, evaded everybody in blue inside the box and headed the ball through the clumsy grasp of goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic to salvage the visitors a point.

“Today we didn’t show the capacity, the energy, the hunger,” said Pochettino. “Not the minimum to compete in the Premier League. In defensive phases, we concede too much.

“That is why I’m so upset and disappointed. It’s more here (in the heart) and here (in the head) than in your legs. It’s about being strong like a group, strong like a team.

“We are too slow evolving in this area. That was the key today. The team played well, we had energy. When we have the ball, we go forwards.

“But when we didn’t have the ball, we don’t have the same energy. Today, sorry, I am not happy with the performance when we don’t have the ball.

“It’s difficult to accept not to win. It was a must-win game to be in a position to attack (the table).”

At five games, Chelsea’s unbeaten league run is now the longest they have enjoyed in almost 18 months, but there was little positive cheer shown by fans at the end towards Pochettino and his players.

In failing to beat the Premier League’s second-bottom side, they lost further ground in what looks an increasingly doomed bid to qualify for Europe via their league placing.

Pochettino felt that his team’s problems in turning performances into points ultimately had a psychological root.

“(The players) need to realise that competing is different to playing football,” he said. “We can be there and play, but we need to increase our level.

“It’s not about blaming the players. Maybe we (the coaching staff) need to be tougher with them.

“We need to be more ruthless, find better communication, be more competitive.

“We are missing something. That’s why we are where we are. When we don’t have the ball we need to increase our capacity to recover it.”

Burnley’s assistant manager Craig Bellamy reflected on a performance of which the travelling supporters could be proud.

“To be able to show the patience they showed, working together, the organisation, the commitment, you couldn’t be nothing short of proud watching it,” he said.

Chelsea were held to a 2-2 draw by Burnley at Stamford Bridge as Vincent Kompany’s side twice came from behind with 10 men to frustrate the hosts.

At five league games it became Chelsea’s longest unbeaten run in the league in almost 18 months, but there was little good cheer directed towards Mauricio Pochettino and his players by fans at the final whistle, after they saw Dara O’Shea snatch a point for Burnley late on.

Cole Palmer had earlier scored twice, the first a penalty after defender Lorenz Assignon had been dismissed for fouling Mykhailo Mudryk, then making it 2-1 after being set up by a delightful flick from the under-fire Raheem Sterling.

In between, Josh Cullen volleyed Burnley level against the run of play early in the second half, as their top-flight survival bid received an unlikely boost.

The first opportunity had been Burnley’s. A long ball up from halfway drifted over the head of Benoit Badiashile and was lashed across goal and wide by Jacob Bruun Larsen.

Next to go close was Enzo Fernandez. His shot from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection towards the top corner, before being brilliantly turned onto the crossbar and behind by Arijanet Muric.

It was a bright Chelsea opening, Palmer and Conor Gallagher readily a threat when linking up whilst Mudryk, fresh from scoring the goal that sent Ukraine to Euro 2024, showed speed and tricky footwork rampaging down the left.

Yet Burnley were not blunt. Wilson Odobert drew a fine, flying save from goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic, finding space to fire from range after stepping inside Malo Gusto, who allowed him past too easily.

Nicolas Jackson too might have done better when he raced on to Palmer’s incisive through-ball, danced round two defenders and aimed for the corner, again though Muric saved.

Axel Disasi thought he had given Chelsea the lead midway through the first half, turning the ball in at the far post from Mudryk’s cross, only for VAR to rule it had gone in off the defender’s arm.

Mudryk fired straight at Muric after being teed up by Jackson jinking in off the right, as Chelsea’s shot count rose to 12 inside the opening 35 minutes.

The sense that Burnley were clinging on grew, and shortly before half-time their task was made exponentially harder.

Assignon initially looked to have Mudryk under control as the pair raced to reach the ball in the left channel. Mudryk stepped across him, and Assignon heaved him away and to the ground with a raised arm at neck height.

In the chaos that followed, the defender was shown a second yellow card, the fulminating Kompany too saw red, leaving Burnley a man down and with their manager banished from the touchline. With his impudent penalty, Palmer added insult to injury to give Chelsea the lead.

It was richly deserved, and so Burnley’s equaliser immediately after the break stunned the home crowd. Cullen played a one-two with Josh Brownhill 25 yards out, receiving it back and crashing an instinctive volley beyond Petrovic with the second half barely two minutes old.

The visitors would have been ahead had Petrovic not saved brilliantly one-handed from Odobert’s close-range header, then at the other end Muric was again Burnley’s saviour, beating away Jackson’s low first-time drive.

Home fans were contemplating another frustrating result when Sterling, on for Moises Caicedo, diverted the ball beautifully into the feet of Palmer with a devilish flick, and Chelsea’s top scorer crashed it into the bottom corner to restore the lead.

It lasted under three minutes. At once Burnley were up the other end winning a corner, and from it nobody in blue followed O’Shea as he ran across four defenders and headed the ball through Petrovic’s fumbled grasp to level.

Sterling should have won it when he burst onto Palmer’s far-post cross but inexplicably nodded wide, before Jay Rodriguez headed against the crossbar in the 88th minute as Burnley threatened the improbable.

Mauricio Pochettino said Chelsea’s owners are suffering along with supporters as the team labours in the bottom half of the Premier League table, after fans accused the club of becoming a “laughing stock” since Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital took charge.

A letter written by the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust to senior management on March 8 described a “critically low mood” amongst fans that it felt could not be ignored if a situation of “irreversible toxicity” was to be avoided.

The team are 11th in the league and face the likelihood of a second successive season out of Europe if they fail to overcome Manchester City in next month’s FA Cup semi-final and go on to win the competition.

Pochettino’s tenure has been badly marred by a persistent and lengthy injury list, with nine players confirmed absent for Saturday’s meeting with Burnley at Stamford Bridge.

However, it has not stopped fans turning on the former Tottenham boss in recent weeks, including during the FA Cup win over Leicester before the international break.

A section of supporters sang “you don’t know what you’re doing” before Chelsea edged past the Championship side 4-2 with two stoppage-time goals, and at previous home games were heard singing the names of former manager Jose Mourinho and ex-owner Roman Abramovich.

“I’m going to support the owners that invest and that arrived to the club in a very difficult situation,” said Pochettino.

“The intention is very good. The owners are trying to develop a different project to before. Fans need to understand that it’s a new project with different ideas.

“What we cannot say is they’re not investing and that they don’t have good intentions. They are suffering.”

Despite supporter ire, there have been signs of promise in recent results and performances.

Chelsea have not lost in the league in almost two months since a 4-2 defeat to Wolves at the start of February, and dominated an albeit inexperienced Liverpool team in the Carabao Cup final before losing to a goal in the last minute of extra-time.

Victory over the Clarets on Saturday and at home to Manchester United on Thursday would likely drag them into contention for a place in next season’s Europa Conference League.

“If you look at all the data, in the table we should be in fourth position,” said Pochettino. “But for different reasons, we are not there.

“What the data means is that we are in a good way. In which area do we need to improve? It’s things (that will come) with time. We need to compete better, small details. You can only get this with experience with time playing together.

“It’s easy to find the data when you want to kill someone. But when the data is good and reflects the team is doing well but for different reasons we’re not getting the results we deserve, (we should) trust in the process.

“We know really well what we are doing. That’s why I laugh. I don’t take it personally when the fans say that.”

Mauricio Pochettino called for more trust and urged the Chelsea fans to offer “unconditional” backing to his young team after they progressed into the FA Cup semi-finals with a roller-coaster 4-2 win over Leicester.

Stoppage-time goals by substitutes Carney Chukwuemeka and Noni Madueke settled a last-eight clash that had everything, with Leicester reduced to 10 men after Raheem Sterling’s missed first-half penalty, while the Blues’ Axel Disasi also produced extraordinary own goal.

When Disasi fired his back pass beyond goalkeeper Robert Sanchez in the 51st minute, it offered Leicester a lifeline and they levelled in stunning fashion 11 minutes later when Stephy Mavididi rifled into the corner.

The Stamford Bridge crowd were ready to turn when Sterling blazed a free-kick into the stand, which was met with boos, after the visitors were reduced to 10 men after Callum Doyle brought down Nicolas Jackson.

Pochettino’s decision to take off Mykhailo Mudryk and not Sterling was greeted with chants of, ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’, but the Chelsea boss had the last laugh, with Chukwuemeka slotting home in the first minute of stoppage time before Madueke curled home from range to clinch a Wembley return.

“For a second time, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, we are going to Wembley,” former Tottenham manager Pochettino insisted.

“When I arrived in England at Southampton, they said, ‘we need to go to Wembley, we need to go to Wembley’. In Tottenham, ‘we need to go to Wembley, we need to go to Wembley’.

“Now look in nine months in two different competitions we got to Wembley and we need to enjoy and we need to trust more.

“I am a very positive person. I really believe in our fans, I really believe in our club and I really believe the most important in our staff we have today because all the staff are fantastic. And of course our players.

“Young (players) but I am enjoying a lot trying to help them achieve what they want. Of course all together we will succeed, no doubt.”

Chelsea had started well against their second-tier opponents with Jackson impressively able to burst past Jannik Vestergaard to set up Marc Cucurella for a 13th-minute opener.

It should have been 2-0 when Sterling was caught in the area by Abdul Fatawu, but the penalty by the Blues attacker was poor and Jakub Stolarczyk saved the scuffed effort with his feet.

Sterling had taken the ball off Palmer, who had scored all five of his spot-kicks this season, although the duo combined before half-time with the latter able to sweep home for his 14th goal of the campaign.

A dramatic second half was to follow, but the Chelsea boss attempted to defend Sterling after he took his penalty record to five misses from nine kicks.

Pochettino added: “Raheem asked for the ball for the penalty and Cole gave the ball. You saw on the TV but that is not a problem.

“Cole can miss, Raheem can miss. For me, their decision and I will always support the decision of my players on the pitch.

“It’s obvious that I cannot hide nothing. You are like me, the feelings weren’t good for him (Sterling) but I am going to support him, we are all going to support him.

“We need to accept. It doesn’t mean we agree or not agree but we have to accept because our fans, all the fans in football live expectation and want the best for the club, the best for the players.

“Of course when you don’t match the expectation, this is difficult thing for our fans to understand. I was talking in the past and I am strong. I have no problem.

“We will keep moving in the same direction and of course we want to create better emotion. I cannot lie, I hope the next game our fans will be always unconditional behind the team because we are representing Chelsea.

“The players also want to give the best for the club and for the fans. We want to make happy our fans and we are going to try.

“I hope we can create until the end of the season a good connection with the fans, but I am never going to criticise the fans. Never, because they are entitled to say what they want.”

Leicester boss Enzo Maresca praised his team, adding: “The most important thing is we don’t lose our identity.

“It doesn’t matter if it is Chelsea or Bristol City. We are just working since the first day one way and we will continue until the end.”

Chelsea needed stoppage-time goals from substitutes Carney Chukwuemeka and Noni Madueke to edge past 10-man Leicester 4-2 in a wild FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side led 2-0 before the visitors stormed back to level, but a glorious flick from the excellent Cole Palmer set up Chukwuemeka to slot the ball into the corner to put Chelsea 3-2 up before Madueke gave the score some gloss with a brilliant solo effort.

Chelsea were two up at the break thanks to goals from Marc Cucurella and Palmer, while Raheem Sterling had a first-half penalty saved.

A surreal own-goal from Axel Disasi and a Stephy Mavididi goal improbably hauled Leicester back, before Callum Doyle was red carded late on.

Extra-time beckoned, until Pochettino’s subs won it.

Chelsea took the lead after 12 minutes and the move started with a powerful tackle from Moises Caicedo to win the ball on the edge of his own box. One pass released Palmer down the right, and he looked up to see Nicolas Jackson galloping clear and he crossed for the unmarked Cucurella to tap home.

After a strong Leicester opening the goal settled nerves around Stamford Bridge, but this has become a ground used to existing in a state of apprehension.

Robert Sanchez dithered and was nearly dispossessed by Patson Daka, with only good fortune sparing the goalkeeper’s embarrassment. Abdul Fatawu might have done better when he glanced a header wide at the back post from Daka’s cross.

Whatever frustration the winger felt, he moments later allowed it to get the better of him when he crashed through the back of Sterling inside the box for a penalty.

Sterling had scored only six goals in the league this season and took the ball out of the hands of usual taker Palmer, a move he would quickly regret. The penalty was hit low and centrally, and was saved by Jakub Stolarczyk.

He had the chance to make amends for his penalty blunder when sent clear by a fine through-ball from Caicedo but he placed a shot wide with only Stolarczyk to beat.

Sterling finally put things right in the final minutes of the first half. Receiving the ball in the box he ran it almost to the byline and crossed low from the left for the arriving Palmer to make it 2-0.

Chelsea were in full control, but five minutes after the break things altered in ludicrous circumstances.

Disasi received the ball back from a throw-in in the right-back position and was quickly put under pressure by Daka. Turning to play it to his goalkeeper, the Leicester forward nudged him at the moment of contact, and his pass span up and out of his control, sailing over Sanchez for a comical own-goal.

And the tie was level after 62 minutes.

Mavididi cushioned the ball wide on the left, turned and ran at Gusto. The defender backed off and with a swing of the right boot Mavididi sent a fine, arching shot round the dive of Sanchez and in.

It capped a stunning recovery from the visitors, but within minutes they were down to 10 men.

Jackson was tripped by defender Doyle and Andrew Madley initially gave a penalty and showed a yellow card. VAR showed the contact was outside the box, but as the furthest Leicester player back, Doyle saw red.

Madueke came off the bench and saw a first-time shot saved low to his right by Stolarczyk, before he skied one into the Matthew Harding Stand from 12 yards.

The last hope of avoiding extra-time looked to have slipped away. Then came Palmer’s flick, Chukwuemeka’s finish and Madueke’s crowning touch to send Chelsea to Wembley.

Mauricio Pochettino admits some of Chelsea’s younger players are struggling with the pressure of playing for the club.

The big-spending west London side have floundered in mid-table all season, with their summer overhaul of bringing in young talent from across Europe so far yet to bear fruit.

Chelsea had the chance to claim a trophy last month, but a number of missed opportunities cost them dear as they lost the Carabao Cup final to Liverpool after extra-time.

And Pochettino believes not all of the club’s signings have settled in as well as star man Cole Palmer, who scored his 11th Premier League goal of the season during the Monday’s 3-2 win over Newcastle.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s FA Cup quarter-final with Leicester on Sunday, Pochettino said: “One thing we cannot change is to give time to the players to get experience and be more mature.

“In the same time that you ask me about Cole Palmer, not all the players have the same process of settling in at the club or to perform.

“Yes, we are in a process that the main group, the main young players…of course they struggle a little bit to deal with the pressure to play for Chelsea.

“That is the thing we are, of course, aware of and we are focusing on trying to help them in all the areas.

“Because when you have this young squad, it’s not only to help them in training, in the two hours maybe of that. We have spent a lot of time talking with the people that work around these guys, who are important too.”

Chelsea brought in over a dozen new players last summer – as well as coach Pochettino – as they looked to build on a hugely disappointing 2022/23 campaign which saw them finish 12th in the league and suffer early exits from both domestic cup competitions.

One of the newcomers was Nicolas Jackson, who joined the Blues from Villarreal for a reported £29.8 million, and, after a difficult start in England, he took his league tally for the season to nine goals with the opener against Newcastle.

That is one less than former Chelsea star Didier Drogba managed in his first year at Stamford Bridge and Pochettino believes the 22-year-old Senegal international is a player on the rise.

The Chelsea boss said: “You all are now seeing how he is improving. The most difficult thing was to support him when it was tough. I told you I really believe in him.

“I believe he is going to be very successful here.

“He has the quality and the capacity. Now he is doing much better but still needs to improve a lot. The numbers are similar to Drogba in his first season.

“That maybe gives the fans more belief in him and to be a little more patient with him, but always it depends on the circumstances.

“Now I hope people can start to understand he has the condition to be very good.”

Chelsea’s struggles this season sees them down in 11th spot in the table, but with seventh-placed West Ham only four points ahead and having played a game more, there is still a possibility of securing European football for next season.

That may be the Europa Conference League, but Pochettino says Chelsea – Champions League winners in 2012 and 2021 – will respect any competition they are in.

He said: “We need to accept the reality and if we arrive at the end of the season and we qualify for the Conference League, we need to accept and respect the competition and go to try to win the competition.

“We need to accept the reality. I am not going to say nothing, it is an international competition.”

Mauricio Pochettino warned there will be more problems for Chelsea if they fail to build on their 3-2 victory over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge as he praised the impact of match-winning substitute Mykhailo Mudryk.

The Ukrainian came off the bench to score with a superb individual goal to make it 3-1 in the 76th minute, pelting on to the ball at full tilt before tricking his way beyond a dumbfounded Fabian Schar and nipping round Martin Dubravka to finish.

“It was a very good goal and that is what we expect from a player from the bench – impact,” said Pochettino. “Then it is about competing with different players in his position. Then he will deserve to (start).”

The goal helped settle a finely balanced game, the kind that has so often slipped away from Chelsea under Pochettino.

They had already allowed an advantage to get away from them on the stroke of half-time.

Leading 1-0, Chelsea made two errors to hand Newcastle a way back into the match. First, the otherwise impressive Malo Gusto was caught trying to juggle the ball in midfield, then Trevoh Chalobah rushed up from central defence to assist and left a gaping hole into which Alexander Isak darted and rifled the visitors level.

Earlier, Nicolas Jackson had given his team a deserved sixth-minute lead, applying the deftest touch with his heel to Cole Palmer’s strike, getting just enough contact to divert it out of the reach of Dubravka and into the bottom corner.

Palmer, brilliant again on the right of a forward three, scored a 13th goal of his debut Chelsea season early in the second half.

Enzo Fernandez spotted the Blues’ top-scorer in space and gave the ball to him with his back to goal. With his first touch Palmer turned and with his second he lashed a shot inside the near post for 2-1.

Then came Mudryk’s decisive moment of magic and, although Jacob Ramsey gave Chelsea a scare with a cracking late drive from range, Pochettino’s young side clung on.

“We need to understand that we are Chelsea,” said Pochettino. “We are in a project that is completely different (to the past). Some people might be confused. When people don’t want to listen, it’s difficult.

“But we are trying to explain we are a different Chelsea, we are building something different. It’s going to be tough.

“We need to keep believing, even when it’s tough circumstances. We played (the Carabao Cup) final, 120 minutes, then after three days we play the FA Cup and we play Brentford. In six days we played three very tough games, nearly with the same team.

“It was really tough. If that means we are a disaster, OK. The most important thing is it’s not affecting the team. They know what they need to do and we keep believing.

“The win today is important for our fans to be a little bit more calm. But I think if we don’t win our next game, it’s going to be again a problem. That is Chelsea.”

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe reflected on a match that had been there for the taking before Mudryk’s late strike.

“I thought it was a game in the balance and an open game,” he said. “The game got away from us with the goals we conceded which were really poor from our perspective – they were self-induced.

“Wherever you play you have to pride yourself on being tight and I don’t think Chelsea had an abundance of chances tonight.

“But the way the goals came from our perspective is hugely frustrating as we know the details have to get better.”

Mauricio Pochettino has insisted he will never quit Chelsea and hit out at “completely unfair” criticism of his young team.

The 52-year-old Argentinian has seen his side unfavourably compared to Blues teams of the past since taking over in July, with the London club having won five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues during the last two decades.

Pochettino’s team are 11th in the table ahead of Monday’s meeting at home to Newcastle, however, with a second consecutive season without European competition appearing almost certain.

Supporters have turned on the head coach and his players in recent weeks, including last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Brentford when the team surrendered a first-half lead and dodged defeat only with a late equaliser.

Monday’s game will be their first in the league in front of their own fans since being booed off at the end of a 4-2 defeat to Wolves early in February, and there was also criticism after they failed to beat a depleted Liverpool team in the Carabao Cup final two weeks ago.

Chelsea have the youngest squad in the league since co-owner Todd Boehly embarked on a mission to clear out the club’s more established players in favour of expensive but less experienced recruits, and Pochettino feels some of the analysis has been out of order.

“I feel young,” he said. “I don’t feel 52. It’s true that (the players) are young, but we like to help them. We like to talk, to train, to support. We are supporting them.

“The fans don’t know. The players are so young, playing at Wembley in a final. Maybe they didn’t sleep the night before. Sometimes, to analyse with different parameters and the way that you assess is completely unfair.

“Today it is a different Chelsea. If you are going to judge us, comparing the past of Chelsea, for sure no-one is going to win. No-one is going to succeed. No-one is going to be nice with you.

“The fans are not going to love any more another coach at Chelsea. If you compare with the past, when you are in a different project, people need to understand. I’ve tried to explain. I talk, I move my mouth, but you don’t hear.

“I knew it was going to be tough. I knew we were going to need time and belief. The project is about young players, building a new team.”

Asked if he would consider walking away, he replied: “No. Why? Never.”

The situation is in marked contrast to Pochettino’s previous role as head coach at Paris St Germain, where he worked with an established squad assembled by owners who prioritised signing experienced players ready to compete for the biggest honours.

“We love challenge,” Pochettino said. “We came from a different project at Paris St Germain.

“Here the challenge is massive. We accepted to come here knowing that it’s never easy. The pressure and the feeling that you are Chelsea and you need to win.

“But we are so excited to be here and support this project.”

Mauricio Pochettino has revealed he spent the evening of his 52nd birthday watching football with his coaching staff as they sought to “heal” from Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Brentford.

The Argentinian opted for Valencia v Real Madrid and a glass of wine over time with his family, hours after his team were booed by their own supporters at the Gtech Stadium.

Chelsea’s faint hopes of qualifying for Europe are rapidly diminishing, ahead of Monday’s Premier League game at home to Newcastle.

The meeting with Eddie Howe’s side at Stamford Bridge will be the first league outing in front of their own fans since the team were jeered off at the end of a 4-2 loss to Wolves more than a month ago.

And there were signs of disquiet too during the narrow FA Cup win against Championship side Leeds.

The team’s only defeat in their last five games came after extra-time in the Carabao Cup final to Liverpool at the end of February, a run Pochettino has been keen to talk up.

However, the draw with Brentford – earned via a late Axel Disasi goal after the home side had fought back from a goal down to lead 2-1 – left the manager in no mood for celebrating his birthday.

“Saturday after the Brentford game, the draw was like a defeat,” he said.

“My coaching staff were with me at home. We finished the day watching Valencia v Real Madrid, more football. We shared a glass of wine. But nothing exciting. Only watching football.

“I think that healed, watching more football. The last few days I watched the Champions League, the Championship, the Asian Champions League.”

Asked how his wife, with whom he marked 31 years of marriage the day before Chelsea’s Christmas Eve defeat to Wolves, deals with these moments, he said:  “She knows very well because the mood is not good.

“When the mood is not good, it’s not easy for the family. The responsibility is to win and provide good feelings to our fans, the people that trust in us.

“Five games we didn’t lose in 90 minutes, you could say it was a good run. But the draw with Brentford appeared again the problems.”

After Newcastle comes an FA Cup quarter-final at home to Leicester next Sunday as the team chase down their last realistic hope of salvaging a bleak season.

Pochettino would not be drawn to look ahead however, pointing instead to the need for players returning from injury to reacclimatise, particularly after Ben Chilwell, Conor Gallagher and Levi Colwill joined an already lengthy absentee list.

“The most important thing is Monday,” he said. “I don’t want to think about Leicester. It’s important because of the circumstances. We’re going have three players less.

“We’re working really hard to see how we’re going to provide balance to the team. Players coming back from injury like (Marc) Cucurella, whether he can deal with 90 minutes. Trevoh Chalobah after seven, eight months (out). We’re managing his load.

“Always it is a risk. That is why the most important is Monday.”

Mauricio Pochettino said he would have joined in with jeering Chelsea fans who booed his team against Brentford had he been a supporter, as he confirmed three more of his players have succumbed to injury and illness.

The Argentinian was without eight squad members for Saturday’s 2-2 draw at the Gtech Stadium, when away fans turned on their own team after they threw away a first-half lead and needed a late Axel Disasi goal to avoid an 11th Premier League loss of the season.

Now he faces also being without Ben Chilwell, who has been sent for specialist treatment on a knee problem, and Levi Colwill, who has an injured toe, for Monday’s game against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

Of greatest concern to Pochettino however will be the fitness of Conor Gallagher, one of his most consistent performers this season, who has not trained since the Brentford game and is suffering from a virus.

“He’s not here the last three days,” said Pochettino of the 24-year-old. “We’ll see if Saturday or tomorrow he has the possibility to train.

“The problem with these situations is you lose weight and energy is down, and you need time to recover. We need to assess him in the next few days.”

Pochettino has consistently pointed to the impact that injuries have had on his team’s progress since he took charge in July.

He has rarely enjoyed an absentee list of fewer than seven players, and is likely to be without as many as 10 for the visit of Eddie Howe’s side.

One of the more frustrating aspects for the 52-year-old has been recurring injuries, with Chilwell, Reece James, Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia all spending more than one extended spell on the sidelines, while Wesley Fofana is expected to miss the entire season.

Gallagher’s absence is likely to be particularly felt as he has played in an influential role in almost every game since the manager took charge.

Pochettino said he empathised with fans who booed his side against Brentford, but countered that circumstances have ultimately put paid to any chance of success this season.

“We need our fans,” he said. “I hope they will be behind us on Monday. It’s so, so important to our players.

“But we need to accept that it’s football. They are frustrated. Maybe if I was a fan in the stand I would behave the same way as them.

“If you want to be consistent and you want to fight for big things, you need to be consistent. How? With the full squad, keeping the ideas, improving in training, with the capacity to train every single day.

“When that’s not there, we can manage circumstance, but in the end, we are only managing circumstance. We will never have the capacity to have the full squad to compete between each other.

“When you suffer too many negative things, like now we lose three players after Saturday (injured), that is not about the quality of the coaching staff, or the capacity to play more offensive or defensive. It’s about the circumstances.

“People want to understand? Perfect. They don’t want to understand, what can we do?”

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