Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino makes bizarre press conference request in passionate speech

By Staff

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino requested a copy of the matchday programme after attempting to justify the decision to bring Mykhailo Mudryk off before Raheem Sterling during the 4-2 victory over Leicester City.

Sterling had an afternoon to forget for the Blues as he missed a penalty and a relatively easy one-on-one chance in the first half of their FA Cup quarter-final tie at Stamford Bridge. After Callum Doyle was sent off for the visitors, the 29-year-old elected to take the resulting free-kick which ballooned high and wide of the target.

The poor attempt led to audible jeers from the home supporters with some sections chanting for him to be substituted. Six minutes later, Pochettino decided to make a change but elected to bring Mudryk off for Carney Chukwuemeka.

This infuriated home fans further who chanted: “You don’t know what you’re doing,” at their own manager. Eventually, Sterling was replaced by Noni Madueke who, along with Chukwuemeka, scored twice in stoppage time to seal progression to the semi-finals where they will face Manchester City.

Post-match, Pochettino faced the media and was asked about his substitution decisions which led to a bizarre rant from the former Tottenham Hotspur boss. “I am not here to do what the people want. Also, I am not stupid. I am not expressed to do this to go again,” he began.

“You know, I think for me, I saw Mudryk and we analyze and he was tired, he was doing some stretching and we thought that maybe he’d not finish the game and then we will decide, you know, to go first for Mudryk and then for Raheem. That is because we need to see everything we are professional and we want to win but of course, completely understand the situation. That doesn’t mean that I agree.

READ MORE: Sterling breaks silence after Chelsea chant

READ MORE: Every word from Pochettino’s post-Leicester press conference

“But look, we are going to support Mykhailo, we are going to support Raheem and we are going to support all the players that are in the squad that is big because in the programme, you, you don’t have the programme here that today… [Asks for the matchday program and holds it up]. People say: ‘Oh big squad.’ But did you see the names [points to the names at the end of the list] under 18, under 18, under 18, under 18, under 21, under 21, under 21.

“And sometimes people you can confuse, you know: ‘Big squad.’ Do you know why we use too many we put here because we use this guy few minutes in Carabao Cup, in the FA Cup or in the Premier League because of the circumstances.

“It’s only, no, sometimes people want to talk like I want to be nice on [what] we have yes, because we are not going to hide nothing. Big squad is long because we had too many players on the first team and we should use all the kids that are helping us. For the second time in the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and FA Cup in Wembley.

“That is always when I arrive to England, at Southampton they say: ‘No, we need to go to Wembley.’ ‘We need to go to Wembley.’ Southampton and Tottenham: ‘We need to go to Wembley.’ And now look in, in nine months in the two different competitions, we got Wembley and we need to enjoy and we need to trust more.

“I really believe I am a person, very positive person. I really believe in our fans.

“I really believe in the club and really believe the most important in the staff that we have today because all the staff is, you know, is fantastic and of course in our player, young, but I am ensuring a lot trying to help them to achieve what they, they won and of course, altogether we will succeed. No doubt.”

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