Poch after rough ’23: We must show ‘consistency’


LONDON — Mauricio Pochettino has said that it is important that Chelsea put their difficult 2023 behind them and show “consistency” by achieving a positive result against Luton Town on Saturday.

If Chelsea were to lose against Luton it would be their 24th loss of the year – their most since 1978 when they went on to finish bottom of the old Division One and suffered relegation to the second tier at the end of the 1978-79 season.

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“Of course, that is our objective — being consistent and after the last six games at home I think were good because to get this run and then to finish the year with a good result [would be] be really nice,” Pochettino told reporters.

“During the season we [have been] struggling a little bit with teams like Luton and of course that is the challenge for me. I am happy to go to play there because it’s going to be good for our young team, a good experience and now we know that if we want to win, we need to fight, we need to give our best and of course after to play football that is in the way that we know how to play.”

Luton’s 11,050-capacity Kenilworth Road ground and its entrance for away supporters that gives fans a glimpse into the neighbouring gardens of local residents has often looked out of place when compared to the lavish stadiums that most Premier League clubs are used to.

The home crowd, though, have used the spartan surroundings to their advantage, creating a formidable atmosphere that has seen them beat Newcastle and draw with Liverpool.

“I am an old man, I am romantic — I love the football and the past and this type of stadium I think it makes you remember when I started to play, the old Wembley, the stadium that [felt] different,” the Argentine coach said.

“They have no luxury in the way that we recognise the luxury today but in this type of stadium that you love to be there because it’s history because [it’s] completely different and today we are living a different area, unbelievable in stadium, but when you go there and you see and you feel the real football.”

Pochettino also revealed that midfielder Romeo Lavia suffered an injury while making his club after coming off the bench in the 58th minute of Chelsea’s 2-1 win against Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Lavia, who was signed by Chelsea in a deal worth an initial £53 million ($67.8m) in the summer, had not made a single appearance during the first half of the campaign after picking up an injury following his transfer from Southampton in the summer.

“We need to assess [Mykhailo] Mudryk and Romeo Lavia also — he felt something, some issue and we need to check but yes, a little bit worried because I don’t know if [when] you were watching the game you can appreciate that there was change the position with Lavia at the end because he was struggling to run,” Pochettino said.

“I hope that is not a big issue and he can be with us again. Important players, they will recover but it’s going to be a shame if we cannot use them in the next few games.”

A win on Saturday against Luton could lift Chelsea as high as ninth in the Premier League table while Rob Edwards’ team, who are searching for their third consecutive win in the competition, could climb out of the relegation zone if they earn all three points.



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