Chelsea’s FA Cup Win a “Big Relief” for Pochettino Amidst Pressure

By Xorkpe Sosu 6 Min Read

Mauricio Pochettino sought “time” as Chelsea advanced to the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 3-2 win over Leeds United, a result he described as a “big relief.”

Conor Gallagher’s last-minute goal secured the victory and set up a quarter-final clash with Leicester City. Despite the win, Pochettino faces mounting pressure due to Chelsea’s recent poor performances.

Pochettino acknowledged that his future at Chelsea is not within his control, saying, “Up to them to trust or not.”

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The victory over Leeds was crucial for Chelsea, as they rebounded from their Carabao Cup final defeat with a hard-fought win.

Leeds, fresh from a thrilling win over Leicester, exposed Chelsea’s vulnerabilities, scoring early through Mateo Joseph after an Axel Disasi mistake.

Read Also: Newcastle show resilience to eliminate Blackburn 4-3 on penalties in a hard-fought contest

However, Chelsea, previously criticized as “bottlejobs” after their Wembley loss, staged a comeback with slick build-up play that put Nicolas Jackson and Mykhailo Mudryk in scoring positions.

Despite being unbeaten in their previous 12 matches, Leeds, managed by Daniel Farke, showed resilience. They took control in the second half while Chelsea appeared to retreat, and Jaidon Anthony’s cross set up Joseph for his second goal, leveling the score.

Joseph had another headed chance shortly after, but it was Chelsea who ultimately triumphed. Enzo Fernandez’s powerful run created an opening, and Gallagher’s skillful turn and finish sealed the win.

The Chelsea fans erupted in celebration, reminiscent of the 1970 FA Cup final replay, the last time these teams met in the competition, which Chelsea also won.

With this victory, Chelsea’s season and their dream of winning silverware remain alive. They will face Leicester on the weekend of March 16, just one game away from returning to Wembley.

Chelsea's FA Cup Victory a Weight off Pochettino's Shoulders

After Chelsea’s defeat to Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final last weekend, Mauricio Pochettino, the Argentine manager, faces heightened scrutiny. The team’s 11th-place position in the Premier League table has added to the mounting pressure.

 Mauricio Pochettino’s comments after the game

“We needed this result. It wasn’t a great performance. [Leeds is] a team full of confidence, very, very strong team doing fantastic in the Championship. The character we showed after [the early goal] is something to learn for the team.

“In the end I’m so happy. It’s always tough when you lose a final in extra-time and 72 hours or less to recover was difficult, but today the effort was massive again and I have to say thank you to the players.”

“It is difficult because of the expectations,” Pochettino added.

Chelsea's FA Cup Win a Relief for Pochettino Amidst Pressure

“The team needs to find the right balance during the season and you need time and they can perform. It is normal that you need time, but in the past four weeks we are doing fantastic.”

“The team are fighting and starting to behave like a team. We are short a bit in the squad and we have 10-12 always injured players.

“Enzo [Fernandez] and [Moises] Caicedo are playing and playing and we don’t have players to give them a rest. The changes were because we need to give some players some rest.

“Cole Palmer was sick last night, [Ben] Chilwell had some problems, [Conor] Gallagher also.”

Mauricio Pochettino’s reply to Gary Neville “billion-pound bottlejobs”

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino was questioned about whether his team’s hard-fought victory against Leeds showcased their character. This inquiry followed comments from Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, who referred to Chelsea as “billion-pound bottlejobs” during their Carabao Cup final loss to Liverpool.

Pochettino said: “Gary my friend, what you did… His opinion now is around and around and around [being spoken about a lot]. We cannot be angry about that.”

With all my love to Gary it’s not fair to put this type of worry in a team that’s so brave and a club that’s always showed it fights for big things.

“With this type of performance what we can do is show we’re brave and can win games. It’s not important for the team, for us because we know how we are and who we are and how we behave and why we lose the game against Liverpool. It’s nothing to do with this. It’s because of all different things.

“You need to accept all the opinion. But that’s not for us a thing to talk. We know we’re brave and working hard. If people want to go around and around this comment, for us it’s not important. Sorry you’re wrong. We respect his opinion and we move on.”

What’s Next?

The FA Cup quarter-finals promise some thrilling matchups, with Manchester United and Liverpool set to clash, while Manchester City defends their title against Newcastle.

Leicester, the 2021 winners, will take on Chelsea, and Coventry, the lowest-ranked team left, will face Wolves. These games will unfold over the weekend of March 16.

In Premier League action, Chelsea heads to Brentford for a London derby on Saturday, with kickoff at 3 pm. Meanwhile, Leeds will journey to Huddersfield, with kickoff at 12:30 pm.

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