Chelsea earned respite from their difficult start to the season under Mauricio Pochettino as Nicolas Jackson’s second-half goal gave them a 1-0 win against Brighton in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

Roberto De Zerbi’s high-flying visitors dominated possession for much of the game but home fans witnessed their side put on an effective counter-attacking display at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea had gone three games without scoring, but that run ended when Jackson struck early in the second half after being set up by Cole Palmer, planting a composed finish into the corner to ease his personal struggles in front of goal.

Pochettino made five changes from the side beaten by Aston Villa on Sunday, with Palmer brought in for his first start.

The former Manchester City forward began in an advanced three alongside Mykhailo Mudryk and Ian Maatsen, but was at his most effective when dropping to receive the ball deep, seeking out the critical final-third passes that have eluded Chelsea and meant they have scored just five league goals in six games.

Jackson had an early sight of goal, winning the ball on the edge of Brighton’s box and hitting a left-footed drive that deflected over.

Robert Sanchez was one of three former Brighton players in the Chelsea line-up and twice in the first period the goalkeeper almost gifted his former side the lead, first passing the ball straight to the feet of Joao Pedro who chipped it inches over the bar, then putting Moises Caicedo under pressure in a central position. He was dispossessed by Carlo Baleba, who rolled the ball to Ansu Fati to fire wide from the best opening of the half.

Brighton had enjoyed 66 per cent possession by the half-hour mark, leaving Chelsea to look for openings on the break.

The lively Mudryk ran in behind from Caicedo’s defence-splitting pass, only for Tariq Lamptey to slide in with an expertly timed intervention.

Minutes later, Mudryk turned provider, latching on to Levi Colwill’s forceful tackle that sent the ball spinning upfield and crossing low to the near post for Palmer to side-foot wide under pressure from Igor Julio.

Chelsea had endured their worst start to a season in 45 years but relief looked finally to have arrived five minutes after half-time.

Maatsen received the ball centrally and laid it into the feet of Palmer, who had been a lurking first-half threat playing between the lines. He tucked it in cleverly to Jackson, who wrong-footed Bart Verbruggen to guide home his second goal for the club.

It was just the third time this season that Pochettino had seen his team take the lead, and they should have gone further in front when Mudryk’s energetic midfield pressing won the ball and set Jackson away, but this time the goalkeeper got the best of their duel after spreading himself well.

Home fans thought Jackson had scored the second goal his performance deserved when he slotted home from Palmer’s pass, but the offside flag cut short celebrations.

Brighton had late chances to level, first when Pervis Estupinan collected a raking ball and ran it to the byline, but no one had gambled as his cross fizzed across goal.

Pedro then thumped a volley over the bar from Axel Disasi’s weak headed clearance but Chelsea held on to finally hand Pochettino room to breathe.

Chelsea have taken only five points from their opening six Premier League games this season – their worst start to a campaign since 1978.

Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Aston Villa leaves them in 14th and extended their winless run to three games.

Here the PA news agency looks at the reasons behind the west London club’s performance problems.

Is Mauricio Pochettino the right man?

Pochettino’s youthful Chelsea squad have experienced teething problems, with their only league win coming with a 3-0 victory over newly-promoted Luton. Their forwards have been wasteful in front of goal, with striker Nicolas Jackson missing seven big chances in six games with just a single goal to show for it. The Blues have shown signs of promise at times but individual errors and questionable changes to the formation will mount pressure on Pochettino, who is expected to perform after Chelsea’s £1 billion-plus transfer spree since May 2022.

How does Pochettino compare to other Chelsea managers?

Pochettino has struggled to improve a Chelsea slump that started under Graham Potter and continued during Frank Lampard’s woeful temporary return. In Pochettino’s first six Premier League games the Blues have scored only five goals, winning once and losing three times. That is slightly better than Lampard’s second spell at the helm, which saw the Blues score seven goals and take four points in their first six games before finishing 12th. Potter managed nine goals and 11 points in his first six games, while Thomas Tuchel – who won three trophies during his Stamford Bridge tenure – picked up 14 points in his first half a dozen Premier League fixtures. With a lack of goals holding Pochettino’s side back, the 51-year-old will hope that an increase in chances taken can turn the tide.

What about all the money they spent?

Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium forked out over £450 million on transfers this summer and have broken the British transfer record twice since January to land midfielders Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo. Caicedo has had a mixed start at Stamford Bridge after his £115 million move from Brighton. The Ecuador midfielder had a poor cameo on his debut against West Ham before he gave the ball away for Anthony Elanga’s second-half winner against Forest. Jackson is yet to live to up to his exciting first two games in blue and has missed golden chances which have cost Pochettino’s side. Fernandez, however, is the shining light in Chelsea’s midfield and has shown his quality on the ball.

Are injuries to blame?

Chelsea had 12 players missing through injury for last week’s 0-0 draw at Bournemouth, forcing Pochettino to rotate once again. Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia are yet to make their debuts for the club due to being sidelined and the exciting Carney Chukwuemeka’s knee injury at West Ham was more serious than what was first hoped. Suspensions picked up by Nicolas Jackson and Malo Gusto will add further problems for Pochettino when they face Fulham.

What’s next for Chelsea?

After hosting Brighton in the Carabao Cup and a west London derby at Craven Cottage, the Blues face a tough run that includes Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle in their next eight league games. They will need to find an upturn in form if they do no not want to slip further out of the race for European qualification for a second successive season.

Mauricio Pochettino said his Chelsea players need to grow up as a team after they were beaten 1-0 at Stamford Bridge by Aston Villa to fall to their third loss of the season.

The game turned with the sending off of Chelsea’s Malo Gusto after 58 minutes when the score was still 0-0. His challenge on Lucas Digne was late and caught the Villa defender on the ankle, and after a pitchside VAR review referee Jarred Gillett upgraded the initial yellow card to a red for dangerous play.

Pochettino brought on Ben Chilwell and moved Axel Disasi to right-back, but the dismissal did not much alter Chelsea’s attacking intent as they continued to seek out a winner.

It was a decision that would come to haunt them, as with the home side committed inside Villa’s half Moussa Diaby broke with the ball and fed Ollie Watkins, who after seeing his first shot blocked by Levi Colwill scored with his second, angling the ball beyond Robert Sanchez and in off the far post.

It was the second time in two seasons that Watkins has netted in a Villa victory at Stamford Bridge, as Unai Emery’s side took full advantage of Chelsea’s ongoing inability to turn promising situations in the final third into goals, before pouncing when their own moment came.

Striker Nicolas Jackson, who has scored just once since his £31million summer move from Villarreal, again cut a frustrated figure as he picked up his fifth booking of the season for attempting to block a Villa free-kick, incurring him a one-game ban.

Pochettino refused to criticise the officials and said it is the players that must take the rap for the team’s poor start to the season.

“It’s our responsibility and the players’ responsibility,” said Pochettino. “We can’t blame the VAR or the referee. The situation, we need to act different, in a different way. I’m not going to blame or say anything against Malo Gusto. Situations happen in football and they affect the game and the team in a negative way.

“We need to grow up like a team, not only in an individual way. A player like Nico (Jackson) that is so young, feeling the Premier League and he’s learning, he needs time. In this type of game, we’re competing and we want to win. But players, when they are young, need to learn with experience.

“That’s why we feel disappointed because we are playing too many situations like this. Another small detail and in the end we are losing the game. We are in a situation we need to change as soon as possible.”

Chelsea largely dominated up until the red card with Raheem Sterling and Mykhailo Mudryk particularly lively attacking down either flank.

But the team were dogged by a familiar failure to turn pressure and possession into gilt-edged chances as their scoreless run in the league extended to three games.

“It was a little bit unlucky,” said Pochettino. “How many chances did we have like Aston Villa? They shoot, we block, then they shoot and it touches the post and goes in. For us, how many one v one against (Emiliano) Martinez? We were a little bit unlucky but that happens.

“We need to accept the reality. But it was unlucky because how many chances did they create? Not many. With 10 men we were forcing them to go back.

“That is unlucky. We need to be aware about what is going on but in some way we need to be calm because the team is creating, the team is alive, the team is fighting every single action.

“We cannot say anything about the players, we cannot say that they gave up after 70 minutes. They were fighting until the end with one player less.”

Villa boss Emery reflected on a performance that he said was proof of his side’s powers of recovery after their 3-2 loss to Legia Warsaw in the Europa Conference League on Thursday.

“Overall I think we are progressing,” he said. “We changed some players, we had some difficult injuries. The most important thing, we tried to create our style and ideas as quick as possible with the players we added this season.

“The first way to get it I think is to be consistency defensively, be competitive like we were today.

“We’ve been strong at home, playing really good and winning a lot of matches. But away we have to try to get the same performances and the same structure.

“Today, to win here at Chelsea, 90 minutes everything that happened today was something normal. To win here is not easy. If the match had gone different we could have lost as well. I’m very happy. We felt strong defensively, better than the last match we played away.”

Mauricio Pochettino thinks the 18 months he spent in charge of Paris St Germain kitted him out to tackle the complicated task of turning Chelsea’s fortunes around.

Under the Argentinian, PSG were crowned Ligue 1 champions in 2022 having missed out to Lille the previous campaign after he had replaced the sacked Thomas Tuchel mid-season.

Crucially he failed to land the club’s Qatari owners the prize they most coveted, the Champions League, losing in the semi-final to Manchester City in 2021 and to Real Madrid in the last-16 the following year.

It was reported that Pochettino never felt that he enjoyed full authority over the club’s star-studded squad, and was kept by the hierarchy from reining in the erratic behaviour of certain big-name players.

He left in the summer of 2022 and did not work in football again until accepting the job of piecing together Chelsea owner Todd Boehly’s expensively assembled side in June.

He said the experience of managing in the famously chaotic environment of the French champions helped him as a coach, but acknowledged that the challenge he faces at Stamford Bridge is of a different order.

“I think it helps,” said Pochettino. “It helps to take things in a different way. Of course, experience is a really important point in football, in how you are going to deal with things.

“It would be arrogant to say that because I was there, now I can manage everything. The demands always are completely different.

“But when you add experience and experience of different clubs, different countries, different cultures, I think it gives us the capacity as a coaching staff to help in a better way the players and then the club that wants to develop some new ideas or new projects, like we are now doing.”

Chelsea face Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Sunday when Pochettino will come up against another coach who knows intimately the unique demands of life at PSG, Unai Emery.

Emery managed the club for two seasons between 2016-18, winning the title in his second year but joining the list of coaches unable to fulfil the club’s frustrated Champions League ambitions, twice going out in the last 16.

He returned Villa to Europe for the first time in 12 years last season, finishing seventh in the Premier League after taking over from Steven Gerrard in October.

“For myself and for Unai, (the job) is not to prove anything,” said Pochettino. “I think it is to try to help (our) clubs to achieve what the clubs want. I never feel that I need to prove something.

“We (Pochettino and assistant Jesus Perez) arrived at PSG and in one year and a half we won three (trophies). We proved that we can win.

“But you can win with a team that normally wins when you are in a project ready to win. In that case, Unai and myself are building something. He is building at Aston Villa a very nice project, and we are starting to build a very good project for the long-term at Chelsea.

“I think it’s not easy to win with PSG, it’s not easy to win with different clubs. We need to give the credit for the coaches and players that win with different teams, because for different reasons, you feel the pressure in a club like PSG. You cannot (have) any excuses.

“But the Premier League is the most important competition and the most competitive, and if you can win here, I think the feeling for sure that the credit is bigger.”

Mauricio Pochettino has defended Chelsea’s medical department amid the spate of injuries that left him with only 15 available first-team players for last weekend’s draw with Bournemouth.

The manager was without 12 of his senior squad for the drab goalless encounter at the Vitality Stadium with Moises Caicedo, Marc Cucurella and Noni Madueke late additions to an already lengthy list of absentees.

It is the second time in 2023 that the club has been hit by an injury crisis after former manager Graham Potter was left without 10 first-team players in January.

Pochettino included three players aged 19 or under who had no first-team experience on his bench last weekend, as well as two goalkeepers, as the late withdrawal of Cucurella – who had a fever – the night before the game stretched Chelsea’s billion-pound squad to breaking point.

Both the defender and Madueke will be available for Sunday’s visit of Aston Villa to Stamford Bridge, with Armando Broja also in line to return for his first appearance since damaging his anterior cruciate ligament in December, pending a late assessment.

But the squad remains a pale impression of what co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali have spent such sums to assemble over the past three transfer windows.

The list of players unavailable includes summer signing Christopher Nkunku who was injured playing against Borussia Dortmund during the pre-season tour of the United States and is unlikely to make his competitive debut before December.

Club captain Reece James, new signing Romeo Lavia and defender Wesley Fofana are also missing, as is Carney Chukwuemeka who scored his first goal for the club against West Ham in August before being forced off with a knee problem.

Trevoh Chalobah is also out though Benoit Badiashile has returned to training with the team. Caicedo is due to be assessed on Saturday.

“Before we arrived here we did everything to try and have a clear idea of why there were too many injuries last season also, to analyse the risk,” said Pochettino.

“It’s (about) the profile of the player, the risk of the player. It’s not the people working in the medical staff of performance area.

“I think we need to respect these areas (at the club) are very good professionals, qualified people. That’s why they are working in football. But there’s an individual risk to (certain) players, you need to assess.

“Then there’s bad luck. We have injures that maybe happen in one season or maybe in two, but have happened (to Chelsea) because of different situations you cannot control.

“Christopher against Dortmund, it was a tackle and he twists his knee. Three or four months out. That is from the beginning of the game, he wasn’t tired, he was fresh, good, strong.

“The organisation in football are super professional and we need to respect that. Sometimes things happen like this and it’s difficult to evaluate.”

Pochettino said that he favours Conor Gallagher as captain over Enzo Fernandez in the absence of James, with Ben Chilwell having started the Bournemouth game on the bench.

The manager is concerned about the Argentina international’s communication as he is still learning to speak the language after moving from Benfica in January.

Gallagher skippered the team at the Vitality Stadium as he did against AFC Wimbledon in the EFL Cup earlier in September.

“Enzo is still struggling with his English,” said Pochettino. “If we need to communicate with the referee, Conor can perfectly do the job. For me I prefer Conor to Enzo because he can speak English.

“It’s not only about character or personality or profile. You need to communicate with people. And if you have not managed the language properly, you cannot be captain. Maybe I am wrong but it is my opinion.”

Mauricio Pochettino has spoken with Nicolas Jackson to try to address the striker’s discipline on the pitch after he was booked for dissent for the fourth time in five games against Bournemouth last weekend.

The summer signing from Villarreal has cut an increasingly frustrated figure during Chelsea’s early-season struggles, scoring just once in last month’s 3-0 win over Luton.

Chelsea are 14th in the Premier League after Pochettino’s first five games in charge and have not found the net in their last two outings.

Jackson, who was signed for £31million in part as a response to the team’s woeful goal return of 38 last season in the league, has shown flashes of promise.

But he was a peripheral figure for much of Chelsea’s dour stalemate at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday, when the home side coped comfortably with what little threat Pochettino’s side posed.

The manager reiterated his call for Jackson and the rest of the club’s young new recruits to be afforded time, and pointed to the example of Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior – one of the most effective forwards in Europe last season.

After joining the La Liga giants in 2018 from Brazilian side Flamengo he scored just seven league goals in his first two and half seasons, but has since taken his total for the club to 60.

“I had a meeting today (Friday) with Nicolas and Enzo (Fernandez),” said Pochettino. “I said ‘come on, a striker with four yellows cards for protesting?’ You need to get yellow cards but in different actions, not for that. Not so easy, so cheap. It’s going to put him in a very difficult situation with the team.

“He understood. But Jackson is 21, he’s young. He needs to learn, needs to improve, needs to settle. He’s going to be a fantastic player. But he needs time.

“I like to make similarities with players at other clubs. Jackson is a fantastic player but he needs to be calm and relaxed in front of goal. I said remember Vinicius, he took three seasons, or two and a half seasons, to perform (at Real).

“We’re talking about young players. You can blame us, blame me. We can talk about tactics. But they need time. It’s no doubt we have amazing talent on the team, but now they need time to settle.

“But he needs to be clever not to protest to the referees in this way.

“Maybe it’s his normal behaviour on the pitch, it’s something maybe he can improve. Maybe this season they change the rules, he came from Spain where it’s different the relationship with the referees.”

Pochettino said there was a good chance Armando Broja would be available for Sunday’s meeting with Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge after he recovered from the ACL injury that has kept him out since December.

“Broja will maybe be involved at the weekend,” he said. “But it’s after nine months that he’s not competing.

“We cannot expect Broja to arrive to score every single touch, he needs time to feel the competition and start to perform in the way we expect he can.”

The manager added that despite the team’s run of one win in five league games this season he has been pleased with the emotional reaction shown by his players to the team’s indifferent start.

“I’m so happy the way they felt after Bournemouth and (the 1-0 defeat to) Nottingham Forest. They really care about performing better.

“This week was good to work really hard and create a good atmosphere to try to translate to the competition.”

Mauricio Pochettino said he cannot control Chelsea fans’ reactions after a section of the away support appeared to boo Ben Chilwell at the end of the team’s drab 0-0 draw at Bournemouth.

Chilwell was a second-half substitute at the Vitality Stadium but failed to substantially alter the team’s fortunes as they laboured in vain to break the hosts down in wet conditions.

Pochettino named three outfield players aged 19 or under on the bench as well as two goalkeepers as the club’s injury crisis continued to deepen.

Marc Cucurella and Noni Madueke were fresh additions to the absentee list at Bournemouth, taking the total number of players unavailable to the manager to 12.

Chelsea threatened only sporadically, looking to use the channels to attack but only rarely finding a final ball to open up the home side.

Raheem Sterling hit the crossbar with a fiercely hit free-kick whilst Nicolas Jackson also struck the woodwork in the first half but it was Robert Sanchez who was called upon to make the save of the game when he spread himself low at the feet of Dango Ouattara as the striker bore down on his goal.

It leaves Pochettino’s side 14th in the table with just one win from five matches, and with an uneasy sense that last season’s problems in front of goal are a long way from being fixed.

And some fans seemed to vent their frustrations when England international Chilwell went over to applaud the away end at full-time.

“What can we do?” said Pochettino. “For me, I have nothing to say. The fans can do whatever they want.

“We know what we need to do, we are strong in our belief. We have 12 injured and today we had three or four young guys and two keepers on the bench.

“I’m going to cry? I’m going to complain? To who? I need to accept this, the challenge and keep being positive.”

The Argentinian continued: “Bournemouth is a good team, they are going to compete. Every team is going to compete and be difficult.

“But these are the circumstances we need to accept and be positive, patient. We are not going to change in the way we do things.

“What can I do? Only to keep believing. If you say to me we have today all of our players, all of our signings, no injuries, and maybe we cannot win this game? Then maybe I can tell you we need to see (it) in a different way. But we cannot lie to the people.”

Chelsea have failed to score in their last two Premier League outings and have won just twice in the league since March, at the Vitality Stadium late last season when Bournemouth were already safe and last month at home to newly-promoted Luton.

Pochettino was asked whether he was sympathetic to the reaction of those supporters that booed the players off.

“What I can tell the fans is the circumstance that we cannot change,” he said. “The reality that we cannot change. We have too many players (injured). We’re a team that would be strong if we are together.

“Even Manchester City, Arsenal, when they have all the squad fit, they can compete for everything. Why is it different for us? It’s because of what? We don’t have all the squad available from the beginning of the season.”

Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola reflected on a performance that showed promise despite the winless run at the start of his tenure now stretching to five league matches.

“I’m really happy with the performance,” he said. “The game was quite level. Both teams had their chances. Overall, we had very good individual performances and finished the game even better.

“There were moments later on where we thought the game could be ours.”

Mauricio Pochettino is saddened by some of changes he has witnessed in English football, believing a move towards a more technical way of playing costing the Premier League some of its identity.

The manager is in his sixth full season working in England since being appointed at Southampton midway through the 2012-13 season.

He stabilised relegation-threatened Saints and pulled them clear of the drop zone before helping establishing them in the top flight the following year.

At his next job, Tottenham, he transformed the club from perennial underachievers into regular Champions League qualifiers and took them to the final in 2019, losing 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.

He is working his first Premier League job since being sacked by Spurs in November of that year, and is tasked with turning around Chelsea’s fortunes after a wretched campaign last season that saw them finish 12th.

The value and commercial appeal of England’s top flight has grown hugely since Pochettino replaced Nigel Adkins at St. Mary’s more than a decade ago, with the appeal and financial incentive on offer to foreign stars greater than ever.

It has influenced English football to move away from some of its traditional habits, typically thought to have been centred around stamina and physicality.

“It’s true that the Premier League is different from when we arrived at Southampton (in 2013),” said Pochettino, who takes his team to face Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday looking for only their second league win of the season.

“Improved? Yes. Every season it improves, because the potential of the Premier League to sign players from everywhere has made the teams stronger.

“But it’s true that it loses a little bit of the identity of British football, or English football. Being honest, I like (it) of course, because as coaching staff we love to play in this way.

“English football always was about to fight. But to play good football in (a) different way also is to play well, because if you want to play in a different way, you need to be clever also in how you decide a philosophy and structure of the team.”

The Premier League had only 13 foreign players – not English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish – when it was launched in 1992.

The influx of players, and just as significantly managers, from overseas has seen the league grow to resemble a more technical style previously associated with Spain, Italy and other European leagues.

Pochettino added: “Losing this type of identity I think made me a little bit sad because always in my head it was different football in England, that is true.

“People want more spectacular, more things like this. Of course, that is the evolution of society. People ask for different demands, different things, and we are adapting. Football is adapting.”

Pochettino repeated his call for Chelsea’s young squad – the youngest in the league with an average age of just over 23 – to be afforded the time they need to grow into themselves following co-owner Todd Boehly’s whirlwind £1billion recruitment drive.

He cited one famous example of a player bought for big money who took time to come good.

“It’s not fair to assess one game, two games, three games; (a player) is not performing when we play someone and say ‘they need to perform like this’.

“I always use the same example. Real Madrid paid 70, 80, 100 million for one player, Zinedine Zidane.

“After six months you can ask the fans of Real Madrid. He started to perform after seven, eight months. Zidane was 26, 27.

“When you bring in a player who is 18 or 19 or 20 or 21, be careful. They are not machines. They need to settle. We need to give time.”

Chelsea’s policy of targeting young players in the transfer market must be given time to prove its effectiveness, according to boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart have led a recruitment drive that has prioritised youth over experience during the last two transfer windows.

At an average age of just over 23 the club have the youngest squad in the Premier League this season, with contracts of seven or eight years for new players common at Stamford Bridge.

They have broken the British transfer record twice in 2023 on two players who are under 23, Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo.

Yet the team have taken just four points from the manager’s first four league games in charge, after a summer in which recruitment spend in the previous 12 months under the current ownership surpassed the £1billion mark.

The manager was unhappy with the ease with which Nottingham Forest’s Anthony Elanga was allowed to run through the heart of his team’s defence to score the only goal in the visitors’ 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge before the international break, and mistakes in defence and in midfield have been a theme in the season’s early weeks.

Nevertheless, Chelsea have enjoyed periods of dominance in all four fixtures, particularly in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool on the opening weekend and in the 3-0 win over newly-promoted Luton.

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic said this week that the squad lacked the kind of world-class individuals that helped the club win five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues over the past 20 years.

But Pochettino has seen enough to be reassured that his ideas are taking root amongst his young squad, and appealed for the necessary patience for an inexperienced group to find their flow.

“They were (once) young also, John Terry was young, Frank Lampard was young, (Didier) Drogba was young,” he said. “You know better maybe than me, that is a completely different pressure. This is a different Chelsea to what I saw when I was at Tottenham or Southampton. Worse or better? I’m not saying that.

“But it’s different pressure. Different circumstances. Now we cannot compare with the past. I think it’s not fair. It’s a different Chelsea. What I want to translate is the fans want to win because the normal way in the past for Chelsea is to win.

“We need to accelerate all the process, because Chelsea is about to win, and we want to win. But I understand that the process is completely different to in the past. Because we have a different approach to the game and the philosophy and the ideas, (it means) we have a young squad of course.

“(We have) very talented players that need time to perform. But for sure we have one of the best squads of young players with the project. But of course we need time. We need to be careful about how we evolve and how we develop these ideas. But it’s true, players that need to improve and improve.”

Chelsea travel to Bournemouth on Sunday looking to win away from home for just the second time since March, with their only victory on the road in that time coming on their previous visit to the Vitality Stadium at the end of last season.

Pochettino spoke positively about his side’s performances so far this campaign despite a points return that has left them 12th.

He emphasised that his young squad are carrying the club into a new era where success is planned over a longer period, investing in potential rather than ready-made stars.

“I cannot give my opinion about what (Begovic) said because I didn’t hear,” he added. “But it’s obvious that at the moment, if you’re talking about a name like John Terry or Lampard or Drogba… come on.

“Today maybe we have the potential of Lampard or Terry or Drogba, but they are young. They need to prove that they can be one of these guys.

“In the past, Chelsea was about to sign (big) players, like Drogba. Now the idea is to buy young people to have the possibility to develop and to build a team. We are in the process of building a team.”

Mauricio Pochettino said football’s stakeholders should not be hypocritical in their judgement of Chelsea after the club’s spending surpassed £1billion under the ownership of Todd Boehly.

The £40million signing of Cole Palmer from Manchester City on Friday pushed total outlay during the last 16 months into 10 figures, with more than £400m having been spent on 12 players in the summer window alone.

That has in part been offset by player sales for significant fees earlier in the window with 14 first-team departures since the end of the last season, most notably midfielders Kai Havertz and Mason Mount who left for a combined £120m.

It was also confirmed on Friday that 20-year-old striker Mason Burstow has joined Sunderland on a season-long loan while Callum Hudson-Odoi has signed for Nottingham Forest, ending a 16-year association with the club.

Chelsea host Forest at Stamford Bridge on Saturday looking to make it three wins in a row after victories against Luton in the Premier League and AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup.

The manager has previously said that anything less than Champions League qualification in his first season will be deemed a failure following the owners’ mammoth transfer outlay which has seen them break the British transfer record twice in 2023.

And with Boehly still relatively inexperienced in European football, Pochettino was at pains to emphasise his responsibility to help guide and advise his employer.

“You can talk about being very surprised about (the billion-pound landmark), or not,” said Pochettino. “It depends. Today football is… we need to evolve. Today it’s different. Completely different. We manage a different type of numbers.

“If 20 years ago we had thought this was going to happen, maybe no one would believe it. But today, it’s normal in football, this type of money moving around.

“It’s a big business, football. And we cannot stop. I think we all get the benefit here, no? I think we cannot be hypocrites. To be involved in football in different areas, you (the press) there or me here. We are living all (what) that business produces.

“I’m not going to be here to give lessons to anyone, but I think football is about getting a good balance. For me, yes Chelsea is spending money. But also it’s selling players. Money in and money out.

“In that case, people arrive in a club in the Premier League like our owners, it’s normal. They want to settle and develop their project, and we are people that are going to help them to be right in their decisions, because we are professionals of football.

“We are giving our vision and advice, and of course after (that) it’s up to them. That is a very special situation that happened from the beginning.”

Pochettino will have Mykhailo Mudryk available for selection after the winger missed last weekend’s 3-0 victory over Luton.

The Ukraine international, who signed for £88m from Shakhtar Donetsk in January but is yet to score or consistently show the kind of form that persuaded Chelsea to bring him to west London, has played just 54 minutes this season and is yet to start a game under Pochettino.

“He’s a very talented player,” said the manager. “He needs to first of all, before talking about football, he needs to feel comfortable, feel really strong in his body. He suffered (during) the (under-21) Euros, he only played one game (because) he was suffering from some injury.

“When I arrived here was never consistent in training, always something happened. Now we are focused and trying to help me to be really strong, healthy and feel good to start to perform.

“No one can perform if they do not feel strong and really confident in your body. It’s time we need to build his confidence. We are working. I hope in the next few weeks he starts to find his best form to start to help the team.”

Mauricio Pochettino praised the performances of the players given their full Chelsea debuts in the narrow Carabao Cup win over AFC Wimbledon, but would not be drawn on reports that the club are on the brink of signing Manchester City’s Cole Palmer.

It took a first Chelsea goal from Enzo Fernandez in the second half to finally see off the challenge of the League Two side and seal a 2-1 victory, after Noni Madueke had equalised from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.

Earlier, James Tilley’s penalty had given Johnnie Jackson’s side a shock lead after goalkeeper Robert Sanchez raced from his goal and collided with Harry Pell.

The young trio of Mason Burstow, Ian Maatsen and Diego Moreira all started for the first time in an unfamiliar Chelsea line-up, but it took the introduction of Nicolas Jackson and Fernandez for the hosts to finally settle the tie, with a noticeable difference in the manner of their threat once the pair were brought on in the second half.

Jackson provided the kind of incisive running between the lines that had been missing in the first half, whilst it was a first goal in blue for World Cup-winner Fernandez that finally broke Wimbledon’s resolve 18 minutes from time.

Madueke, Chelsea’s best player in the first period before Pochettino turned to his bench, levelled from 12 yards after he had been tripped in the box by defender Alex Pearce.

Pochettino was asked afterwards about the impending arrival of Palmer, with Chelsea and City reportedly having agreed a £40million fee for the forward, but he refused to comment, preferring instead to praise his team’s progression to the third round.

“I don’t know anything at the moment,” he said. “I cannot talk about players that don’t belong to us. What I can say is nothing at the moment. The club didn’t tell me. I don’t want to talk about a player that has still not signed.

“Maybe yes, maybe no (there will be more transfer business). Maybe you know better than me what is going on.”

Of the performance against the Dons, he added: “It was tough. That’s the beauty of the competition, of the cups. I think for the circumstances we have in the squad at the moment, many players that were involved today, I’m happy with the performance. Many players that made their debut here and it’s tough first time.

“Many positive things. Of course, we have a squad and players that were rested and were on the bench in case we needed. They were fresh to go into the game and of course to help the team achieve what we wanted.

“That’s the beauty of the competition for any club, (when you’re) a Premier League club it’s always difficult to play a team like this, that belongs to this level in League Two. Always the motivation and the desire. It wasn’t a penalty for me, (but) that is the beauty of the competition, these things can happen.”

The manager added that Marc Cucurella, who played 90 minutes at left-back despite reports that the club are in negotiations over a sale to Manchester United, remains a part of his plans until the club informs him otherwise.

“I don’t know anything (about Cucurella). All the players that are involved every day on the training ground with us are in our plans. Then, things happen, it’s the decision of both the club and the player, and if something happens in the next few days, we will communicate to you.”

AFC Wimbledon boss Jackson reflected on a brave performance for his side and took pride in having forced Pochettino to turn to his expensively-assembled bench to seal the win.

“So proud of my players,” said Jackson. “We pushed them all the way, gave them a proper game. We’ve said all week that we weren’t just coming for a day out, we wanted to go toe-to-toe with them. A bit gutted we haven’t pushed them all the way to penalties, but I have to be proud of everyone.

“We knew they were on the bench and to be honest I think their manager was hoping he doesn’t have to use them, so I think it’s testament to my team that we got them to a position in the game where he’s had to make those changes, bringing two hundred million pound players (Fernandez and Moises Caicedo) onto the pitch.”

Chelsea had to rely on reinforcements from the bench to survive a scare as a Mauricio Pochettino’s young selection recovered from a goal down to beat League Two AFC Wimbledon 2-1 in the Carabao Cup second round.

It took a first Chelsea goal from substitute Enzo Fernandez to break the visitors’ stubborn resolve at Stamford Bridge, after they had stunned home fans to take the lead through midfielder James Tilley’s 19th-minute penalty.

Noni Madueke equalised from the spot in first-half added time, as an unfamiliar starting XI made heavy weather of seeing off Johnnie Jackson’s team.

Pochettino brought in three players for their full first-team debuts – Mason Burstow, Ian Maatsen and Diego Moreira – but it took the introduction of a more recognised trio in the second half for them to see off the Dons, who were a stubborn defensive match for their Premier League opponents.

Nicolas Jackson, fresh from his first goal for the club against Luton, was introduced and provided a spark that had been absent, with Malo Gusto and Fernandez helping lend Chelsea the required bite.

The World Cup-winner struck the winner 18 minutes from the end after an unfortunate error from goalkeeper Alex Bass, as Wimbledon went down fighting.

The visitors had been awarded a penalty in the 16th minute when Robert Sanchez flew from his goal in an attempt to deal with Morgan Williams’ deep free-kick, instead crashing his fist into the face of Harry Pell. From the spot, Tilley thumped his kick down the centre as Sanchez dived to his right.

Chelsea almost hit back within minutes when Marc Cucurella, in the side despite reported negotiations over a move to Manchester United, carried the ball to the byline and pulled it back for Maatsen who turned cleverly and struck a low left-footed effort. Bass was relieved to see the ball skid inches past his near post off defender Joe Lewis.

On the half-hour mark, Cucurella again was the provider from the left, this time whipping in a cross which Burstow headed narrowly wide.

Madueke, making his first start under Pochettino, looked Chelsea’s best hope of a first-half response, his penetrating runs and movement off the ball as great a threat to Wimbledon’s lead as the home side could muster. But with the visitors camped largely in their own half, there was little room in which to manoeuvre.

Then on the stroke of half-time came a way back. Madueke, on another darting run, won a penalty as Alex Pearce went to ground with a clumsy challenge. The 21-year-old stepped up and capped a fine individual first period by clipping it coolly past Bass for 1-1.

It was the hosts’ only shot on target of the opening 45 minutes despite enjoying 85% of possession but the arrival at half-time of Jackson ignited something in attack.

His clever footwork and vision found Conor Gallagher and Chelsea’s captain for the night finally warmed the hands of Bass with a right-footed shot that was well saved in the 54th minute.

Fernandez was summoned from the bench and almost made an instant impact, striking at goal from 30 yards and drawing a superb two-handed save from Bass at full stretch. He would not have to wait much longer for his first Chelsea goal.

In the 72nd minute a long ball up from the back was hit by the onrushing goalkeeper straight into Jackson, the ball deflecting into Fernandez’s path to give the Argentinian the simple task of bending it into an empty goal with Bass stranded.

The goalkeeper went a long way towards making amends with a flurry of fine saves to keep the score down.

It was a brave showing from him and his team and might it might have earned them a penalty shoot-out had substitute Ali Al-Hamadi’s last-gasp effort not deflected wide off Axel Disasi.

However, Chelsea’s strength in reserve ultimately eased the Blues into the third round.

Mauricio Pochettino praised the intensity of Chelsea’s attacking play in their 3-0 win over Luton and reiterated the club would only go back into the transfer market if the right forward comes available.

The visitors were looking for a first win at Stamford Bridge in 36 years but were no match for Pochettino’s newly energised side, who after a nervous first half ripped into them late on to earn the manager his first win.

Raheem Sterling continued his fine start to the season with two goals and an assist for summer signing Nicolas Jackson, who opened his goalscoring account for the club.

The England forward’s difficult debut season in west London looked confined to history when he danced through Luton’s defence to open the scoring after 17 minutes, before settling Chelsea nerves with a sweetly taken second midway through the second half.

His assist for Jackson, nonchalantly driving over a low cross after collecting Enzo Fernandez’s clever ball forward, typified a new confidence that has marked early performances under Pochettino.

And the manager stated again that reinforcements, whilst welcome, would only be sought if the right profile of player can be found.

“It’s in the way that we love to work,” he said. “The intensity in the Premier League, if it’s not there, it’s difficult to win games. (We matched) the energy of Luton, and I think that was one of the keys, and after with the quality to score goals and create chances.

“I don’t know about the past, I cannot talk about the past. Only we can talk about the present and the future, and the way we want this pressure and the challenge that is to create a team with full energy but also with quality, to have the capacity to be competitive and challenge the big teams like Liverpool, Manchester City and company.

“I’m very pleased because the performance was very solid but that is only the first step. We need to work really hard to still improve, because I think we are so far in the way that we want to play, we are far away. But I think we are in a very good way.

“Like happened last week when we lost against West Ham, it’s not going to change (our plans). We work and the result (against Luton) was positive.”

Chelsea have had a busy summer already on the transfer front but Pochettino said they were still looking at bringing in another goalkeeper – a spot that has now been filled by the signing of Djordje Petrovic – and then “one offensive player more, but the right profile. At the moment we are working to try and find this profile.”

He added: “We need to provide the team a good balance on different areas. I think still we need one offensive player more. We’ll see if it’s possible to achieve.

“If not, we’re not going bring a player and stop a (current) player if it’s not the right profile, to only say ‘yes we have another offensive player.’”

The club confirmed the signing of Brazilian striker Deivid Washington from Santos on Thursday, but the 18-year-old is unlikely to play a role in the first team straight away, with a loan move possible.

Chelsea also announced on Saturday night the signing of Petrovic from MLS side New England Revolution.

The twice-capped Serbia international has agreed a seven-year deal at Stamford Bridge, with the option of a further year.

The 23-year-old said on his club’s website: “I’m so happy to be at Chelsea and I’m really excited to get started at this club.

“It’s a big step for me and it’s always been a dream of mine to sign for one of the biggest clubs in the world. Today I have achieved that goal and I’m so happy.”

Mauricio Pochettino insisted Raheem Sterling deserves the credit for turning his Chelsea career around after his two goals fired the team to a 3-0 victory over Luton at Stamford Bridge.

Sterling endured a disappointing debut campaign in west London but has looked a player transformed since his new manager took charge, and cemented a sensational return to form with a match-winning display against Rob Edwards’ newly promoted side.

His first strike was a particularly fine solo effort, cutting in from the wing and beating three defenders before sliding the ball home.

But it was his second midway through the second half that transformed the atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge, sweeping first-time into the bottom corner from Malo Gusto’s pinpoint cross.

Chelsea’s third – the first time in more than 10 months that they had held a three-goal lead in the Premier League – saw Sterling turn provider as his nonchalant ball driven into the centre was finished off by Nicolas Jackson for his first Chelsea goal.

And Pochettino said that ever since his first conversation with the player when he “held up a mirror” and asked him which position he most loves to play, the catalyst for change has all been down to Sterling.

“I can only talk from day one when we arrived,” said Pochettino. “We had a conversation. His commitment in the way that he wants to provide and contribute for the team, his work ethic and quality.

“I repeat again, I think he deserves the full credit for his performance. We’re very pleased and very happy, he has the quality and he can provide the team goals and assists. Then when we don’t have the ball, working really hard to recover it as soon as possible.

“I’m so pleased for him. He told me it was a difficult season for him last season. I’m very pleased when a player is happy, an offensive player who can score and assist, for us it’s the best feeling.

“Our first conversation with all the players, our conversation with Raheem, I love to ask the position they love to play, how they feel, how they see themselves; to put a player in front of the mirror.

“It’s not the position, it’s the animation and the way the team is going to link in between them. It’s to find the best position, the dynamic of the game when we are playing an offensive situation, to provide the best platform, position and place and link with the player where they can (show) their best quality.

“It’s really important, the process. Time to work to create all these links and this animation and to know each other, we need time. When you want to build a team in the process that we are, it’s matter of time.”

The crowning moment of Pochettino’s first win in charge came when summer signing Jackson was rewarded for an energetic, committed display by knocking in his first goal for the club.

The manager was full of praise for the 22-year-old’s performance and hinted that he has the potential to insert himself amongst the Premier League’s all-time goalscoring greats.

“We are not asking for him to run a lot and press and recover the ball, because it is his quality,” said Pochettino. “His work ethic is amazing and then he is fast, to run in behind the defensive line and then the quality into the feet.

“It’s only a matter of time that he’s going to score goals also. He’s amazing. It’s difficult to find a player like him in the market. For me he’s going to be one of the great strikers. He has the potential to be.”

Despite watching his side lose for the second time in two games since their top-flight return, Luton boss Edwards said his players could hold their heads up after competing well with Chelsea before Sterling’s decisive intervention caused the game to slip away.

“We don’t like losing, but I can accept it when there’s a performance like that,” he said.

“The players were committed, we gave it absolutely everything. We just came up short in both boxes. I’m extremely proud to be involved with this football club and these players.

“We were very resilient and incredibly brave. We went man for man, tried to press them, tried to take the ball. For a time in the second half, we had the territory. I could smell a goal coming, but it was them unfortunately.”

Mauricio Pochettino has warned his Chelsea players that Luton will get the better of them at Stamford Bridge on Friday night if they fail to match the desire to win of Rob Edwards’ newly promoted side.

The manager recalled one of his early games in charge of Espanyol when he took his team to the Nou Camp and staged a famous victory against Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona en route to masterminding the team’s La Liga survival.

That 2-1 win in February 2009, earned thanks to two goals from midfielder Ivan de la Pena as Espanyol ended a 27-year wait for a victory at the home of their city rivals, announced Pochettino’s arrival as a coach and was a springboard for dragging his new team out of the relegation zone to safety.

It went down as one of the shocks of the LaLiga season in Spain, particularly as Barcelona were en route to winning a domestic and European treble in what was Guardiola’s first season in charge.

Pochettino prepares his side to welcome Luton in rather less swashbuckling form, still seeking a first win under his tenure following a draw and a defeat in his first two games in charge and grappling with the problem of integrating a flux of summer recruits.

Defeat to the Hatters, who last won in the league at Stamford Bridge in 1986 and are yet to pick up a point in their debut Premier League season, would add to the noise surrounding Pochettino’s Chelsea rebuild, with the club having spent more than £350million on nine new signings so far this summer.

In contrast, Luton have paid out around £20m on transfers during the last 18 months, but the Chelsea manager was quick to remind his players of football’s unique propensity for springing upsets.

“It’s the beauty of football. In the pre-season I was talking with (Brighton manager) Roberto De Zerbi, he’s a good friend. I said ‘look, I was at Southampton and at Espanyol. Sometimes you face Real Madrid and you cannot complain, because I know how you feel when you face this type of team’.

“I was on one side, now I am on another. I understand. Sometimes people will say ‘you need to win 4-0 or 5-0’ before the start of the game. But it’s the beauty of football. At Espanyol we beat the dream team of Barcelona with Lionel Messi and Xavi and (Andres) Iniesta. It is similar (to) Luton and Chelsea. It’s the beauty of football.

“I was telling the players today in the meeting. We need to match the same will as the players of Luton. If we match all this, then we presume that we have better quality for us to win. But if not the game can be crazy. Maybe we can win or we can lose. That is football. It happens more here in the Premier League.

“It was the first time the bottom team had beaten the top team. It had never happened in the past. It was amazing, Espanyol in the Camp Nou. It was a little but lucky, we had some help also.

“There’s nothing to lose (for Luton). You go there, we were Espanyol and we said we don’t care about making a mistake. We need to be brave. (But) I don’t want to give the Luton coach all the strategies.

“It can only happen in football. You can see basketball, NFL, you see the quality of the players and you say (one team) it’s impossible, you cannot do it. In football you can shoot 30 times and not score, and they can shoot only once and score. In other sports, it’s impossible.

“Football is about belief, being together and (showing) fight, and then the quality that you have, if you match this, it’s about the players. If you don’t match this, the game is going to be over.”

It was near the end of the transfer window last season that former manager Thomas Tuchel talked of there being “a curse” on Chelsea’s number nine shirt, such has been the club’s lack of success with strikers in recent seasons.

Pochettino acknowledged that the door may not be fully closed on Romelu Lukaku’s future at Stamford Bridge if a deal cannot be reached to sell him before the end of the window, although the player is eager to leave and unlikely to prove the answer to the team’s goalscoring woes unless his relationship with the club improves.

The manager said the club remain in the market for another attacking option but only if a player of the hight profile becomes available.

Summer signing Christopher Nkunku is out until December and the number nine shirt is currently not assigned.

“I didn’t hear about the curse,” said Pochettino. “We need to do something to try to change the energy. I’ll ask the kitman to bring all the number nine shirts and we’ll do some cleaning, energetic thing.

“If we bring a new striker I’ll be sure he gets the number nine to try and change the feeling that this number is not welcome.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.