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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan

Chelsea boss Poch: Broja has the potential to be an amazing striker

Mauricio Pochettino  Picture by Paul Lagan
Mauricio Pochettino Picture by Paul Lagan

By Matthew Ferris at Cobham training ground

Mauricio Pochettino has said that Armando Broja “has the potential to be an amazing striker” as he continues to keep faith in the player despite Broja being strongly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.

Although he scored in the third round of the FA Cup, the 22-year-old has netted just once in the Premier League this season, with it being a rather fortuitous ricochet at Craven Cottage in October.

Pochettino’s tone was very much consistent with the idea of patience, and referenced Harry Kane’s mixed start to his career as an example of how important giving a young player time can be.

He said: “I always compare with Harry Kane because he was on loan at Leyton Orient, later Norwich and he spent time to find his real balance.

“Then in our first six months [at Tottenham] he started to perform in December/January time you then start to see the real potential.”

Broja’s Chelsea career so far has followed suit with someone like Ruben Loftus-Cheek. His loan spell at Southampton was particularly impressive, particularly his ability to bully defences and use his physical attributes to pose a constant threat.

After rupturing knee ligaments in a friendly against Aston Villa in Abu Dhabi, the road to recovery has been a long one, which is another factor Pochettino feels must be considered.

The rumours of his departure, as well as Chelsea searching for his replacement have been widely reported, but Pochettino made his feelings about the rumour mill of the transfer window abundantly clear.

When asked whether Broja had time to prove himself, Pochettino said: I don’t want to say anything but there’s too many rumours in football.

He believes you “have to try to accept and to live with the rumours because if not we go to another side.”

Pochettino was well aware of the pressures that Chelsea strikers have faced over the years, referencing Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink and Didier Drogba, admitting that Broja faces the pressure of the legacy that legends of the club have left in the past. With Chelsea this pressure is always going to be present.

“If you don’t have the capacity to deal with that pressure it’s difficult to be at this level.”

The Argentine was relaxed as ever though, and the idea of patience was not just confined to his views on Broja.

Pochettino views his time with Chelsea as a project, with this season acting as a learning curve for a squad that needs a considerable amount of time to gel.

About his players, he said: “It’s time for them to live the experience, sometimes players that arrive here are so young they believe they are the kings of the world, in a good way…then they realize, oh we are not so good.

“All the players are up and down [in form] and now is the moment for the players start to realize many important things.”

Learning the hard way seems to be at the heart of the message, but for Pochettino and his staff, it is also about knowing when to push their players, and when to understand that they are in a transitional stage that requires a little more time than usual to develop.

“It’s a massive process. I think if you have kids, you may understand this. They’re like our kids – sometimes you put too much pressure – you need to give them the freedom to realize it’s difficult to progress.”

He also noted that at no point this season have his side had above 70 per cent of their players fit.

Pochettino referenced Christopher Nkunku, Ben Chilwell and Reece James, saying that creating a “tactical plan” for these players is impossible when they are out for large chunks of the season.

On a lighter note, Pochettino ended his press conference with a slight misunderstanding of a question about Unai Emery but said: “I am a nice guy – I’m not like Arteta. I’m sorry, he’s my brother [so I can say this].”

“I can be like Arteta, also [be the] bad guy.” For now, though, with his players, Pochettino seems to want to be the good guy as he maintains his full faith in the long-term goals he has set with Chelsea, riding the rollercoaster of a season that the club are having.

A League Cup win at the end of February would certainly go a long way in convincing the masses that this faith is fully justified, but the focus is fully on Aston Villa tomorrow night as Chelsea look to continue their strong cup form this season.


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