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  • By Matthew Ferris at Cobham training ground

Chelsea boss Poch is looking to avenge home league defeat to Villa with FA Cup win tomorrow

Mauricio Pochettino Picture: Paul Lagan
Mauricio Pochettino Picture: Paul Lagan

By Matthew Ferris at Cobham training ground

Mauricio Pochettino believes his side’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in September should not have a negative impact on his players confidence as they prepare to face Unai Emery’s team on Friday in the Fourth round of the FA Cup. 


Speaking about the last encounter between the two teams, Pochettino said: “To be honest, this was the type of game that we should win; with one less we performed really well but didn’t win.  


“It was an even game that they won because they were clinical but with one [player] less we deserved more.” 


The Argentine admitted that he was happy to see the success of Emery at Aston Villa, and admires the project that the Spaniard is currently building.  


He said: “I believe that Emery is one of the best coaches in the world and they have very, very good players and of course it’s very clear the project of Aston Villa.” 


Villa are currently in a battle for Champions League football, flying high in fourth place while playing an aggressive style of attacking football.  


However, Pochettino believes that only small margins separate the two sides, and that the last the game came at a time where his side were searching for a run of results that would inspire confidence and trust in the project.  


While Villa managed to kick on from their win at the Bridge, Chelsea’s inconsistent first half of the season continued as they struggled to maintain any notable momentum.  


Four wins in the last five games though, as well as overturning the first leg deficit to Middlesbrough in the League Cup Semi-Final, has released a little bit of the pressure on Pochettino. 


He knows he is still in the process of shifting the mentality of his squad, particularly in front of goal.  


He said: “We are a team that’s in process to grow, we are a team that needs to grow to build the confidence to show ourselves that we are capable to score in every single action.  


“We need to think that every time we have the ball we need to finish and to score.”  


While the six goals against Middlesbrough present an improvement on the goalscoring front, translating this type of ruthless form into the league as well as the FA Cup will be vital if The Blues are to see a major shift in results on a consistent basis. 


Although Christopher Nkunku and Malo Gusto are back in training, they will not feature in the fourth round tomorrow, but both stand a chance to face Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday. 


The return of Ben Chilwell on Tuesday provided a much-needed boost and balance to Chelsea’s performance, but Pochettino is still unsure as to whether the left back will feature from the start on Friday.  


“He’s an important player but we need to see if he’s fit and can cope with 90 minutes. 


“After 10 minutes of the second half [against Middlesbrough] he asked to come off. That is a massive decision [if he can start tomorrow] because we want him to play the rest of the season.”  


Levi Colwill’s partnership with Thiago Silva at the centre of Chelsea’s defence looked imperious on Tuesday, further highlighting the damage that the loss of Ben Chilwell has caused, with Colwill consistently having to provide cover in a position that he is not as comfortable in. 


Caution seems to be the message from Pochettino, believing that fixing Chilwell’s injury problems cannot be done with a push of a button, but rather with meticulous recovery based on advice from the club’s medical staff. 


The next month for Chelsea poses to be an exciting but perilous one. 


Facing Liverpool and Manchester City in the league will be mighty challenges that they have to face in the build-up to the League Cup Final, which is also against Liverpool.  


Pochettino believes it’s “going to be a great final” but knows that in Liverpool, his side are going to find a “strong and consistent team.” 


However, he noted that in training there were a lot of players returning to the squad, and expressed how the final should give his players motivation to return. 

The chance to play a vital part in helping the men's team lift their first piece of silverware under the new ownership will undoubtedly be a target for many players in a squad that has been plagued by injuries for the entirety of this season. 


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