Mauricio Pochettino came out fighting after Chelsea outclassed Aston Villa to breeze into the FA Cup fifth round.

Enzo Fernandez’s stunning free kick sealed a 3-1 victory and set up last-16 tie against Leeds at Stamford Bridge.

First-half goals from Conor Gallagher and Nicolas Jackson put Chelsea in control of the fourth round replay and they cruised to victory, despite Moussa Diaby’s injury-time consolation.

Chelsea had come to Villa Park in disarray on the back of 4-1 and 4-2 defeats to Liverpool and Wolves – leaving them 11th in the Premier League.

But Pochettino insists they cannot be compared to the dominant side from the Roman Abramovich era which won five Premier League titles – despite spending over £1billion under owner Todd Boehly.

He said: “We need to stop this thing that we are Chelsea from 20 years ago. We are not this type of Chelsea anymore. Now we need to move on and we need to create this project.

“We need to move on, I don’t care if people are happy or not happy with my speech. I care for the club, I care for my players, I want to help the players.

“We are going to fight, I don’t care what the people say. I’m not more sad or happy today after a win because we have experience, this type of project needs time and trust.

“We cannot build a team to challenge because you need to fix too many things, you need to observe, analyse and compete.

“We are building a project which may be one year, two years, three years.

“Today you can see we were ready to fight. We fight for the fans, the badge, the coaching staff. Now the challenge is to be consistent.”

Just as the Chelsea fans sung for former owner Abramovich the visitors took the lead after 11 minutes.

Jackson and Noni Madueke combined to tee up Gallagher to find the top corner for his first goal of the season.

Ten minutes later it was 2-0 as Chelsea tore Villa apart down the right and Malo Gusto’s perfect cross was nodded in by Jackson.

There was barely a response from the hosts – who lost their 11-month unbeaten home league run to Newcastle last week – and Emi Martinez saved Cole Palmer’s effort as Chelsea looked for a third.

They found it nine minutes after the break when Fernandez, having been lucky to earn a foul off Youri Tielemans, curled a brilliant 25-yard free-kick into the top corner.

Villa were beaten but managed a consolation in stoppage time when Diaby’s strike went in off both posts and they now welcome a resurgent Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.

Boss Unai Emery said: “We were excited and motivated and we started well, we didn’t score but we were feeling good.

“When they were getting in our box we were not being strong and they were affecting us. They got into our box with some crosses and were clinical.

“I was more or less feeling the difference was the clinical way for them.

“We scored a little bit late and had no time to score the second goal. We have to accept and analyse the match. To beat them is not easy when you’re not being clinical.”

Mauricio Pochettino has called for perspective on the struggles of his Chelsea team, insisting “I cannot lose my hair” over recent poor results.

Sunday’s 4-2 loss at home to Wolves was the 10th in the league since the 51-year-old arrived in the summer and triggered the first audible signs of discontent from fans towards the manager.

Afterwards Pochettino appeared to suggest he believed the players were not good enough to arrest the club’s slide, though he has since clarified he was referring only to the performance in the defeat to Gary O’Neil’s side.

Chelsea were outrun and out-thought by Wolves who, despite seeing their hosts enjoy greater ball possession, were conformably the more threatening team and they cut through the Blues with relative ease en route to a first win at Stamford Bridge since 1979.

It drew an angry response from supporters near the dugout who booed the players off at half-time and again at the final whistle as the Blues dropped into the bottom half of the Premier League table.

It followed a meek 4-1 collapse away to Liverpool in their previous fixture.

However, Pochettino insisted it was important for a coach in his position to retain a sense of enjoyment in the job even in trying times.

“Football is my passion, not my job,” he said. “Sometimes we say ‘job’ but it’s the wrong word. Football is entertainment.

“If I don’t think like this, I need to go in another position, being a sporting director or CEO or president.

“Being coach, I need to keep a sense of why I am here. We cannot suffer because of business and other things. We need to be focused to play football.

“To be focused in football, you need to feel free in your mind. You cannot be affected because the stock in New York or Tokyo, or the weather or because the farm doesn’t grow.

“That’s why I keep my hair like this, because I don’t suffer from things that I am not in charge of. I only suffer for football, to try to improve the players, to provide them a good platform to win games.

“If there is no rain on my farm, you kill the business of my farm. That is a stress. You can lose your hair. But I cannot lose my hair because we’re not winning because the opponent was better than us.”

With 15 league games to go, Chelsea are just one place higher in the table than they finished last season in what was wildly acknowledged to be an appalling campaign.

They travel to Aston Villa on Wednesday for an FA Cup fourth-round replay.

“I didn’t finish 12th last year, Chelsea did,” said Pochettino. “It is a different squad to last year, many changes. If you want to compare to damage us, to compare things I think is impossible.

“You can compare to try to damage, if you want to make a problem. But to analyse and put all the circumstances, I don’t think that before was better or was worse. It’s difficult to compare because we are in another project.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says it is a credit to their academy players that his side have emerged unscathed from a difficult January to lead the Premier League by five points.

The 4-1 victory over Chelsea was the Reds’ sixth win in seven matches in the month, with the other a draw in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final at Fulham having gone into the game with a lead from the home tie.

During that period the side have been without three senior full-backs, as well as the likes of midfielders Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister at varying times and, of course, Mohamed Salah.

Deputy right-back Conor Bradley has impressed hugely and put in his second successive man-of-the-match display with his first Liverpool goal and two assists in the victory.

But with Trent Alexander-Arnold close to full match fitness after two substitute appearances, it has given Klopp a decision to make ahead of Sunday’s trip to Arsenal.

“There is no situation. It is just how it is,” said Klopp.

“We had seven games in January with 11 days off in between. We couldn’t have put the string of results together without the kids, (Jarell) Quansah, Conor and we had midfielders out so we played with James McConnell at six.

“These boys used this situation. I am happy they all could perform the way they did. The academy is doing an incredible job.”

Striker Darwin Nunez had one of those games where he did everything but score, becoming the first player since Opta records began in 2003 to hit the woodwork four times, once from the penalty spot.

It was at the extreme end of what has become a frequent trademark from the Uruguay international, who set up the fourth goal for Luis Diaz, but Klopp is not concerned.

“Insane first half, unbelievable. Outstanding. Why do we speak about Darwin? Obviously because he has so many situations where he missed,” he added.

“The first time since we count a player hits the woodwork four times in a game. Think you are in his boots and how that feels. Missing a penalty you could see at half-time he was really upset with himself.

“It’s just crazy that he creates that many. Imagine for a second he would take them all. The numbers would be absolutely insane, to an extent where we wouldn’t understand it any more so it’s normal.

“For us, it’s unimportant. We scored four goals, who cares if we could have scored a fifth or sixth?”

It would not have flattered Liverpool to have added two or three more such was their dominance over opponents who they will meet again in the Carabao Cup final in a month’s time.

Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino admitted his side were second best and even penalty shouts in the first and second halves would not have done much to alter the direction of travel.

“I think it is not to find excuses. The performance was not good enough from us. They deserved to win, they were better than us,” he said.

“We didn’t perform in the way we wanted to. In this type of game you need to say ‘well done Liverpool’.

“In the final (next month) we need to compete in a different way. If we compete the same way as today for sure it is going to be the same result.

“For us it is about learning. We are competing against a team that is on the top and is consistent to always be challenging for the big trophies.”

Youngster Conor Bradley registered his first Liverpool goal and two assists as the Premier League leaders thumped Chelsea 4-1 at Anfield to go five points clear at the top.

The 20-year-old right-back fired into the bottom corner in the 39th minute to double the Reds’ lead having earlier provided the pass that led to Diogo Jota’s opener midway through the first half.

After Darwin Nunez sent a penalty against the post in first-half stoppage-time – one of four times he hit the woodwork – the advantage was extended in the 65th minute when Dominik Szoboszlai headed in from Bradley’s cross.

Christopher Nkunku replied before Luis Diaz wrapped things up for Jurgen Klopp’s men as they made it 15 league matches unbeaten, and four successive wins, in their first top-flight outing since the German’s announcement that he is to step down as boss at the end of the season.

A miserable evening for Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea ended a three-match winning run as they stayed 10th.

Manchester City, who have played a game fewer than Liverpool, returned to second place with their fourth league victory on the bounce, beating struggling Burnley 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Julian Alvarez netted twice on his 24th birthday and Rodri also got on the scoresheet before top-scorer Erling Haaland make his comeback from injury as a 71st-minute substitute.

Ameen Al-Dakhil netted a stoppage-time consolation for second-bottom Burnley, managed by ex-City captain Vincent Kompany, as Pep Guardiola’s treble-winners went above Arsenal on goal difference.

Tottenham moved into the top four after a flurry of goals early in the second half helped them come from behind to beat Brentford 3-2 at home.

Neal Maupay’s effort for the Bees on the quarter-hour mark was cancelled out three minutes into the second half by Destiny Udogie.

Brennan Johnson then put Spurs ahead a minute later, with Richarlison adding a further goal for the hosts seven minutes on from that.

Ivan Toney subsequently reduced the deficit in the 67th minute but Ange Postecoglou’s team emerged with the three points to leapfrog Aston Villa in the table.

Premier League clubs have largely kept their powder dry in this transfer window but could there be a flurry of activity on deadline day?

Here the PA news agency takes a look at what could go through before the top-flight window in England closes at 11pm on February 1.

Could Rashford make a shock move?

England forward Marcus Rashford is under the microscope again following his alleged hijinks in Belfast last week, which led to internal disciplinary measures being taken by Manchester United.

While United say they have drawn a line under the matter, Rashford is not as settled under Erik ten Hag as he might once have been.

Any departure from Old Trafford in the next day or so would still be regarded as a major surprise but Paris St Germain are reportedly keeping tabs on United’s homegrown 26-year-old.

Chelsea offloading before buying?

Conor Gallagher has been an integral part of Mauricio Pochettino’s side this season but with just 18 months left on his contract and no sign of an extension, the England midfielder has been linked with a switch to Tottenham.

Fulham and Wolves are said to be tracking another of Chelsea’s academy products in Armando Broja.

But lightening the books could allow the Blues to follow up reported interest in Aston Villa’s Jhon Duran and Newcastle forward Callum Wilson as well as Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies.

Newcastle keeping busy

Newcastle were expected to be one of the biggest movers but they are having to juggle the restrictions imposed by profit and sustainability and financial fair play rules with a desire to strengthen.

Indeed, boss Eddie Howe said this week it was “impossible” to add to their squad without selling first.

Kieran Trippier, Miguel Almiron and Bruno Guimaraes have all been linked with moves abroad but Newcastle have managed to resist any overtures thus far and will hope there are no major departures on Thursday.

Blades want cutting edge defender

Rock-bottom Sheffield United have brought in Chile striker Ben Brereton Diaz and former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Ivo Grbic this month but manager Chris Wilder wants someone experienced to bolster his backline.

The Blades have shipped 54 goals in 22 matches – by far the worst record in the league – and Wilder says the club is working “frantically” to get something over the line before the window shuts.

Hammers go for Jota

With Said Benrahma reportedly close to sealing a move to Ligue 1 club Lyon, West Ham could target former Celtic winger Jota to shore up the wing.

The Portuguese only swapped the Hoops for the Saudi Pro League last summer but has been heavily linked with a return to the UK.

However, David Moyes’ side could meet resistance from Al-Ittihad given Jota has been in Saudi Arabia for just six months.

Mauricio Pochettino praised Emiliano Martinez after the Aston Villa goalkeeper produced a string of saves to deny his Chelsea side in their goalless FA Cup fourth-round meeting at Stamford Bridge.

Villa are five places and 12 points ahead of Chelsea in the Premier League table but there was little to separate them here, although the hosts will reflect on chances missed in the first half by Noni Madueke and Cole Palmer as a shot at settling the tie slipped away.

Martinez was the decisive actor on both occasions, spreading himself well and blocking in one-on-one situations.

John McGinn had Villa’s best opportunities, first when his clipped effort sailed inches over the bar on the stroke of half-time, then again when he stole in at the near post to meet Nicolo Zaniolo’s cross late on but guided it wide under pressure from Thiago Silva.

It is now three consecutive home games against Villa in which Chelsea have failed to score, as they struggled to capitalise on the momentum of Tuesday’s 6-1 Carabao Cup win over Middlesbrough that set up a final showdown against Liverpool at Wembley next month.

“This type of games are very even,” said Pochettino. “When you face a team like Aston Villa, always it’s difficult. We didn’t score but we created chances. I trust and believe in my players playing this way, we are going to score.

“We came from Tuesday, we scored six so today should be good. But their keeper is an amazing keeper, he’s really good. Sometimes you need some luck to score.”

Chelsea lost defender Levi Colwill to injury during the warm-up, with 20-year-old academy graduate Alfie Gilchrist drafted into the starting XI.

Pochettino confirmed Colwill’s injury is not serious and emphasised his belief in Gilchrist as a capable stand-in.

“It’s not so bad, it’s some small issue that maybe he didn’t feel comfortable,” he said. “We knew before we might not start with him. We hope he will train tomorrow.

“The most difficult thing (for young players) is to manage the stress. (Gilchrist) thought he wasn’t going to play. Sometimes with the young guys, you give the starting XI and they think too much, maybe they can’t sleep. The stress can affect them. But he got half an hour (to prepare), no time to think too much.

“The young players need time to be calm and relaxed, not to spend too much energy thinking on the game. But he was really good. He’s going to grow and be more mature in future.

“He’s showing, and we are giving the opportunity for him to build his career. It’s important for all of the academy players have ability to show they can cope with the pressure of playing for Chelsea. We’ll see if he can reach the level we expect.”

Villa boss Unai Emery reflected on a game in which side impressed with their competitive approach despite the stalemate.

“I have to accept this draw and that we will now play at home and be motivated with our supporters,” he said.

“We are going to be at Villa Park trying to enjoy this, because we showed tonight that we are competitive and we can be contenders as well for this competition.”

Chelsea were held to a lively goalless draw by Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge as both sides squandered opportunities to settle their FA Cup fourth-round tie.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team had scored six in their previous outing, dispatching Middlesbrough to reach next month’s Carabao Cup final, but found Unai Emery’s Premier League high-flyers a more obdurate hurdle as a combined 23 shots from both sides failed to yield a winner.

John McGinn spurned Villa’s best chances in either half, while Emiliano Martinez twice denied Chelsea as Noni Madueke and Cole Palmer found themselves frustrated.

It was a theme of the night in west London as a replay at Villa Park beckoned.

Villa should have led after 10 minutes, Youri Tielemans with a free header from six yards out that he thumped downwards into the ground, the pace taken off the ball allowing Djordje Petrovic to save.

Visiting supporters were on their feet when Douglas Luiz tapped in from almost on the goal line, but their delight was curtailed after VAR determined the midfielder had handled as the ball deflected to him off Alfie Gilchrist.

Palmer fed Madueke who might have done better with his low finish, aimed towards the corner but instead fired against Martinez.

Palmer was then the recipient of a ludicrous gift from Clement Lenglet, the defender’s square ball easily cut out by the former Manchester City man who again found only the goalkeeper with his shot.

Madueke was next to go close, he knocked an effort from close range against the legs of Martinez after Raheem Sterling had dazzled Matty Cash on the right and fed Palmer who crossed.

With virtually the final act of the first period, Moussa Diaby raced down the right and centred for McGinn, who with a sweep of his right boot hit a curling strike that cleared the crossbar by inches.

Villa ended a run of eight straight FA Cup defeats with their third-round victory at Middlesbrough but here they were made to weather a first half in which Chelsea had the better of the chances, though as so often this campaign Pochettino’s side lacked cutting edge in front of goal.

Palmer tried to benefit from another Villa howler at the back midway through the second half.

Martinez hit a clearance with insufficient height that struck Chelsea’s top scorer, who seemed in too much of a hurry to execute the finish. Trying to catch out the backtracking goalkeeper, he missed his kick entirely, as Emery breathed a sigh of relief.

Thiago Silva flung his head at a goal-bound Luiz effort as the game started to become stretched.

Ollie Watkins took a touch and hit a fizzing drive that Petrovic beat away, then the goalkeeper made the save of the match diving low with a stunning reach to claw Cash’s left-footed piledriver from the foot of the post.

McGinn had the chance to settle it and dodge a replay four minutes from time, arriving at the near post to meet Nicolo Zaniolo’s cross at the near post. However, he got too much of a glance on the ball under pressure from Silva, as the chance and the game fizzled out.

Mauricio Pochettino described Unai Emery as “one of the best coaches in the world” ahead of Chelsea’s FA Cup fourth-round clash against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea booked their place in the Carabao Cup final on Tuesday and they will look to advance in another competition against Premier League high-flyers Villa on Friday.

Villa side sit five points behind leaders Liverpool in the league and have been rejuvenated under Spanish boss Emery since he joined from Villarreal in 2022.

“I think that Unai Emery is one of the best coaches in the world and he’s creating a very good organisation at Aston Villa,” Pochettino told a press conference on Thursday.

“They have very good players, amazing players.

“It is clear the project of Aston Villa and that’s why they are performing and winning games.

“It doesn’t surprise me (that they are in the top four) I am so happy for him and all the people involved in this project.

“You can feel that they are a very solid team with clear ideas. It is a very good group of players.”

Ollie Watkins’ second-half winner separated the two sides during Villa’s 1-0 league victory over the 10-man Blues at Stamford Bridge in September.

And Pochettino believes Chelsea would have won the game if it was not for Malo Gusto’s 58th-minute red card for a challenge on Lucas Digne and felt his side lost confidence after the defeat.

“To be honest this was the type of game we should win,” Pochettino said.

“We had chances to score before Gusto got sent off in the second half and we performed really well.

“All the confidence went to Birmingham and we lost all the confidence for us to be in the position that they are now.

“I think it was an even game but they were clinical in the second half. We deserved more but full credit to them for what they are doing.

“We cannot play with 10 men against a team like Aston Villa because they can punish you.”

Chelsea’s 6-1 victory over Middlesbrough in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg booked their place at Wembley, where they will face Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on February 25.

Chelsea lost both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals against Liverpool in 2022 and are seeking their first trophy since lifting the Club World Cup that same year.

Pochettino talked up the occasion, highlighting the “massive challenge” of facing Klopp’s in-form Reds.

“We are going to face a very solid and consistent team. They will be a tough opponent and it will be a massive challenge for us,” he said.

“It has all the ingredients in the final to be a massive challenge and it will be good to play Liverpool. It will be tough but it will be a great final.”

Mauricio Pochettino endured a rocky start to life as Chelsea boss but has now guided the Blues to the Carabao Cup final as he looks to end his wait for a first trophy in English football.

The Argentinian has managed almost 400 games in England across spells with Southampton, Tottenham and now Chelsea but has yet to lift silverware in this country.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how Pochettino has fared in his quest for trophies.

Southampton

2013/14

Having taken over during the previous campaign with Saints already out of both domestic competitions, Pochettino’s early involvement in the League Cup and FA Cup was brought to a close by Sunderland. The Black Cats won 2-1 in a fourth-round League Cup tie at the Stadium of Light before claiming a 1-0 victory in the FA Cup fifth round.

Tottenham

2014/15

While a 2-1 fourth-round FA cup defeat at home to Leicester and a 3-1 aggregate loss to Fiorentina in the last 32 of the Europa League hardly set the pulses racing in Pochettino’s first season at Spurs, he did almost start life in north London with a trophy. Home wins over Nottingham Forest, Brighton and Newcastle took Tottenham into a League Cup semi-final against Sheffield United, with a 3-2 aggregate success setting up a Wembley final against Chelsea, who ran out 2-0 winners.

2015/16

Pochettino suffered from second-season syndrome in the cup competitions, losing 2-1 to neighbours Arsenal in the third round of the League Cup and slipping to a fifth-round exit in the FA Cup courtesy of a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace. Achieving European qualification in his first campaign at the helm also led to little as Spurs were thrashed 5-1 on aggregate by Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League last 16.

2016/17

A 2-1 loss to Liverpool in the fourth round of the League Cup was forgivable, but, having ensured a return to Champions League football, Pochettino’s Spurs were knocked out in the group stage and then slumped to a 3-2 aggregate loss to Gent in the Europa League last 32. There was some comfort from an FA Cup run that included wins over Aston Villa, Wycombe, Fulham and Millwall before Chelsea ran out 4-2 victors in a semi-final clash at Wembley.

2017/18

There was another fourth-round League Cup exit – this time in a 3-2 loss to West Ham – but this season saw Spurs top their Champions League group before agonisingly losing 4-3 on aggregate to Juventus in the last 16. There was more Wembley misery in the FA Cup as Spurs reached the semi-final for a second successive season, only to lose 2-1 to Manchester United, having taken the lead through Dele Alli.

2018/19

A forgettable FA Cup campaign ended with a 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace in round four, but even a penalty shootout loss to Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final was not the heartbreaking moment of Pochettino’s final full season in charge. Having secured memorable late wins over Manchester City and Ajax to reach the Champions League final, Spurs were second best as an early Mohamed Salah penalty and a Divock Origi goal saw Liverpool win 2-0 in Madrid.

Chelsea

2023/24

Having won Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France at Paris St Germain, Pochettino returned to England when he was appointed Chelsea boss last summer. While results in the Premier League have been mixed, the 51-year-old saw his side beat AFC Wimbledon, Brighton, Blackburn and Newcastle in the Carabao Cup before recovering from a 1-0 loss at Middlesbrough in the semi-final first leg to thrash the Sky Bet Championship side 6-1 on Tuesday night and reach Wembley – where either Fulham or Liverpool await.

Mauricio Pochettino is looking to “build a team that can match the mentality” of Chelsea after his side reached the Carabao Cup final with a 6-1 semi-final second-leg victory over Middlesbrough.

Jonny Howson’s own goal settled the Blues’ early nerves as further strikes from Enzo Fernandez, Axel Disasi, Noni Madueke and a Cole Palmer brace booked their place at Wembley on February 25 against either Liverpool or Fulham.

Boss Pochettino said: “The most important thing is keeping the focus, seeing reality in the way we need to see the reality and see the difference between what is Chelsea and what is the team we are building.

“They are two different things. Our challenge is the history of Chelsea, the capacity to win titles and build a team that can match the mentality of this club.”

Pochettino emphasised the difference in the scale of the challenge facing him at Chelsea to when he arrived at former club Tottenham in 2014.

Then, he intimated the Carabao Cup might not be a competition that could help Spurs reach their objectives.

At Chelsea, he reflects differently on the competition’s value to the team.

“When we arrived at Tottenham in 2014, the plan was to build a new stadium and to finish the training ground,” he said. “We had a season playing at Milton Keynes and Wembley, (before that) we played with a corner missing from White Hart Lane.

“The principal objective was to be in the top four and play Champions League. The club was fifth, sixth, seventh. That was the challenge. We put everything to try and play the Champions League because it was the way to help the club to achieve the objective of building a new stadium.

“This young team (Chelsea), with this type of experience of going to Wembley, it’s going to build our trust, our confidence, and our mentality like a team – not like a club.

“The club, the mentality of Chelsea is amazing. But like a team, we are new. We need to build confidence and trust.”

Against Boro, Ben Chilwell started for the first time since recovering from a hamstring injury and impressed at left-back.

The manager felt Chilwell and goalscorer Disasi set a standard with their performances and now wants to see such displays consistently.

“They were important today but we need to be consistent,” he added.

“Players like Chilly could do 65 minutes but the objective is to arrive at 80 minutes, hopefully do the 90 minutes, and then be consistent playing every two or three days. That is the most important thing.

“Now we need to help players like him to get their best form, but at the same time we are competing. We can think we are going to play with Chilly or Reece (James), but we know then after 10 or 15 minutes of the second half we have players that we need to change.”

Mauricio Pochettino is looking to “build a team that can match the mentality” of Chelsea after his side reached the Carabao Cup final with a 6-1 semi-final second-leg victory over Middlesbrough.

Jonny Howson’s own goal settled the Blues’ early nerves as further strikes from Enzo Fernandez, Axel Disasi, Noni Madueke and a Cole Palmer brace booked their place at Wembley on February 25 against either Liverpool or Fulham.

Boss Pochettino said: “The most important thing is keeping the focus, seeing reality in the way we need to see the reality and see the difference between what is Chelsea and what is the team we are building.

“They are two different things. Our challenge is the history of Chelsea, the capacity to win titles and build a team that can match the mentality of this club.”

Ben Chilwell started for the first time since recovering from a hamstring injury and impressed at left-back.

Pochettino felt Chilwell and goalscorer Disasi set a standard with their performances and now wants to see such displays consistently.

“They were important today but we need to be consistent,” Pochettino added.

“Players like Chilly could do 65 minutes but the objective is to arrive at 80 minutes, hopefully do the 90 minutes, and then be consistent playing every two or three days. That is the most important thing.

“Now we need to help players like him to get their best form, but at the same time we are competing. We can think we are going to play with Chilly or Reece (James), but we know then after 10 or 15 minutes of the second half we have players that we need to change.

“They were important but with Chilly it is after five months we couldn’t use him. We were using different players like Levi Colwill or Marc Cucurella, who is also injured. We have two right-backs that today we couldn’t count on in Reece James and Malo Gusto, so we are using Axel.”

Chelsea’s recent upturn in form has seen them pick up three successive Premier League wins and they now have a cup final to look forward to.

Pochettino has seen a marked improvement in his side since the beginning of the season and said reaching Wembley was an objective from the start.

“The results are good, we are improving since the beginning of the season,” Pochettino added. “In all the circumstances we need to be happy because we are competing with a lot of things going on again and to reach the final was the first objective from the beginning.”

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.”

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.”

Chelsea put defeat in their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Middlesbrough behind them to book a first Wembley appearance since 2022 with a ruthless 6-1 win at Stamford Bridge.

Four first-half goals for Mauricio Pochettino’s side effectively ended the tie as a contest as a Jonny Howson own goal and strikes from Enzo Fernandez, Axel Disasi and Cole Palmer showed a clinical side to Chelsea rarely seen this season.

Noni Madueke and a second from Palmer wrapped up an emphatic comeback late on before Morgan Rogers gave travelling Boro fans a reason to cheer two minutes from time.

By then, the hosts had long since ensured their place in the final, a 6-2 aggregate win ensuring they will face either Liverpool or west London rivals Fulham on February 25.

Chelsea dominated possession early but took until 11 minutes to fashion their first chance, Ben Chilwell appearing unmarked inside the box and heading fractionally wide from Thiago Silva’s drilled ball over the top.

And it was the returning Chilwell whose vision and delivery fashioned his side’s opener. The ball through the middle for Raheem Sterling cut Boro’s defence in two and Sterling, foregoing the chance to shoot, looked up and fed Armando Broja – but before he could knock it past Tom Glover, Boro captain Howson inadvertently diverted it beyond his own goalkeeper.

Rogers fired towards Djordje Petrovic’s bottom corner from a clever corner routine as the visitors sought an instant response, the keeper saving at the foot of the post.

But the game was looking increasingly like Chelsea’s to lose, and just before the half-hour mark they led for the first time in the tie.

Sterling manoeuvred out of a cul-de-sac via a delightful back-heel to feed Disasi, who sprinted up on the overlap. Charging into the box, he cut the ball back for Broja whose scuffed shot diverted into the path of Fernandez for the simplest finish guided into the corner.

Sterling and Disasi combined again minutes later to make it 3-0, the England forward sliding in his team-mate to sweep home first time as the visiting supporters behind the goal saw dreams of reaching Wembley evaporate.

Boro bravely sought to play their way out from the back despite the torrent of Chelsea goals that threatened to wash them away but their hero from the first leg, Hayden Hackney, had a hand in gifting Chelsea their fourth, leaving Dan Barlaser exposed with a catastrophic pass that let in Palmer to finish inside the post with typical cool.

The hosts were looking to reach a first major final since Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium completed its buyout of the club in May 2022 and with the job all but done by the break, a sense of ease rarely observed this season passed around Stamford Bridge.

Carrick’s side still looked to get on the ball and play in the second half, an approach that did them credit if at times it seemed like inviting a fifth Chelsea goal.

It arrived with 15 minutes to play. Substitute Conor Gallagher ran the ball to the byline and cut back for Palmer to open up his body and score beyond the exposed Glover.

Madueke, sent on at half-time, danced through and made it six via a deflection off Ray van den Berg minutes later.

Rogers’ goal at the death brought a roar of approval from the visiting fans. In truth, their side had never looked like earning the win they craved on their long journey south.

Mauricio Pochettino believes Chelsea’s struggles last season are responsible for the apathy observed at Stamford Bridge during home games under his tenure.

The team won just three Premier League games at home in the first 11 months of 2023 under managers Graham Potter, Bruno Saltor, Frank Lampard and Pochettino.

Between January and the beginning of December they scored 18 goals in 19 games, though four came in a single, frenetic draw with Manchester City in the final match of that run.

Since then their form in west London has improved markedly. They are unbeaten since losing to Brentford on October 28 and have won four consecutive games, their best run at home in the league since winning six in a row during Lampard’s first spell, either side of the 2020 Covid shutdown.

Despite this, the atmosphere around the ground has been noticeably subdued, with recent victories against Fulham, Preston and Sheffield United, in which the team lacked creativity for long periods, particularly quiet.

Chelsea host Middlesbrough on Tuesday needing to win by two goals to overturn a 1-0 first-leg defeat at the Riverside two weeks ago and progress to the Carabao Cup final.

“We’re paying now for the effect of the last 18 months,” said Pochettino. “We (he and his coaching staff) are here for six months, sometimes for us it’s difficult for us to compare. We’re getting better results now, but the disappointment from the fans is coming from last season.

“Now people can give their opinion, it’s a bit flat. There’s been disappointment for a long period. But how we feel at Stamford Bridge is very good.

“OK, in a few periods in some games, maybe against Nottingham Forest (a 1-0 loss in September) or Brentford the energy was down because the team didn’t engage the fans. That’s our mistake.

“But against Arsenal (a 2-2 draw), City, Brighton (a 3-2 win), Liverpool (1-1), the fans were really good.

“People believed that Fulham would be easy, but Fulham wasn’t easy for Liverpool. They beat Arsenal. We played Preston, it’s difficult, (their) motivation, the beauty of the cup. The inferior team can match you in different aspects and you can suffer.

“When you feel so disappointed because of last season, you lose too many games at home, the energy is a little bit down.”

Pochettino will be without Christopher Nkunku who continues to be plagued by a hip injury, though the manager reiterated the problem is not serious.

Defender Malo Gusto, who has proved an able deputy for sidelined captain Reece James, is the latest addition to an absentee list currently standing at nine names.

Nevertheless, Pochettino is happy with recent progress.

“In December we were one of the best teams in England,” he said. “Now (but for) the defeat against Middlesbrough, the results are not too bad, they are good. The problem is the feelings (from last season), because we lose the first leg against Middlesbrough, there was a bit of a strange feeling.

“The results are good and we need to keep doing well and improving.”

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