Mauricio Pochettino on Chelsea's need to improve as a team after their worst start since 1978: "We need to grow up like a team, not only in an individual way. We are in a situation we need to change as soon as possible"; Unai Emery pleased that Aston Villa showed more defensive solidity
Monday 25 September 2023 19:50, UK
Mauricio Pochettino called on his Chelsea players to collectively "grow up" after the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa condemned them to their worst top-flight start in 45 years.
Pochettino will now be without his starting striker Nicolas Jackson, who picked up a fifth yellow card in just his sixth Premier League game to earn himself a one-match suspension, and Malo Gusto after the Frenchman's red card against the Villans.
But the wider squad have now failed to score in three straight games and the poor run has left the Blues 14th in the Premier League, with their meagre five-point haul after six games their worst return since 1978.
Pochettino said: "We need to grow up as a team, not only in an individual way. A player like Nicolas is so young and is feeling his way into the Premier League and learning.
"He needs time, and in this type of game we are competing and want to win. But the players, when they are young, need to learn with experience and when they make a mistake.
"That is why we feel disappointed because we are paying too many situations like this. Things like this is 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.
"It is the players' responsibility. We cannot blame the VAR or the referee. In this situation, we need to act different in a different way. I'm not going to blame or say anything against Malo Gusto because, sometimes, some situations happen in football. This type of situation affected the game and the team in a negative way.
"It's about learning, it is all a process. We are a young team that is in a process, they need to learn altogether. It's difficult to talk about positives when you lose but I think we need to talk about positive things.
"No doubt in time, the team is going to perform, but we cannot hide the situation that disappoints all of the fans, the club as well as us and the players."
Chelsea are the league's worst underperformers relative to their expected goals tally, having drawn a blank in consecutive games against Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth and now Aston Villa.
Only Burnley and Luton have scored fewer league goals this season, while even dating back to last season the Blues have netted only 14 times in their last 16 games.
"Work," said Pochettino on how to improve their fortunes in the final third. "Giving trust and then confidence. We have the squad we have, we cannot change anything.
"The owners feel disappointed, they are excited to build a project so they are disappointed, but they need to support the plan.
"We will try to build confidence and give them all the support they need because they need to perform on the pitch. The performance is good, I'm not going to say it's excellent, but we are missing being clinical in front of goal.
"We need to keep going and working. I cannot find another solution, we will start again tomorrow to build the confidence and trust and hope we can score on Wednesday."
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville:
"What's happening? I've got great faith in Mauricio Pochettino, but he's just got a huge pack of cards and he's probably struggling to know which hand to play.
"It's a mystery in terms of what's happening at Chelsea. I've said before sometimes chaos flows right down through the club. I've said it about United and there's no doubt there as well.
"There will be some changes, I don't think they will change the manager at all, but I think there will be some changes there in terms of how they go about their business and who does the business in the next 12 months.
"I can't see it lasting in terms of how it's being run, it's madness. They're going to have to hang in there, because at the moment they've started really badly. The results are going to have to pick up quickly."
Aston Villa manager Unai Emery was pleased that his side showed more defensive solidity than they have done in previous Premier League game this season.
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was also needed to make a string of key saves against a misfiring Chelsea, with Emery hailing the three points - courtesy of Ollie Watkins' 73rd-minute goal - as important for their "balance" in the league as they compete on multiple fronts.
He told Sky Sports: "For us, it's very important in the beginning to try to keep being consistent in the Premier League. We needed to be stronger than we were against Newcastle and Liverpool.
"Today was a tough match, but we competed very well. We tried to start at the beginning with control of the ball and defensively, being stronger and we did it.
"They had some chances, we needed the goalkeeper, but at the end, we had our chances to score. When we had one player more, we tried in those moments being offensive to try to make the difference and we did.
"Then we kept the result, kept possession and tried to score a second goal. It's difficult to win here and through clean sheets, through a struggle sometimes and through the goalkeeper saving us.
"Those three points are very important for us to try to keep the balance in the Premier League and keep the balance after playing in the Europa Conference League.
"But we are building the team, there is still work to do, but today was good to use different players. We need to add the players and build a stronger squad, then try to keep it going forward, working on the things we have to improve.
"It's always important for the striker (Watkins) to score. I am very happy because he is working with big behaviour, commitment to his team-mates is amazing. If he's scoring, it's better for us and him."