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Inside Chelsea’s ‘really tough week’ & Pochettino’s private chat with Reece James after Newcastle red card



(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Brighton are Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea’s first target to bounce back from their disappointing and frustrating 4-1 defeat to Newcastle United last weekend.

It was an afternoon to forget at St. James’ Park. Chelsea capitulated, it was as simple as that. Raheem Sterling’s leveller from a free-kick ensured they went into the break level, but it was all downhill from there.

Jamaal Lascelles, Joelinton and Anthony Gordon inflicted misery on Chelsea which was added to after a costly Thiago Silva defensive error and captain Reece James being dismissed for a second yellow card.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Pochettino could only watch from the stands after he served his one-match touchline ban. He was left furious and made sure to make his feelings abundantly clear in front of both his players and the media.

“It was really tough to be there,” Pochettino said last Saturday. “To be honest, I don’t want to be anymore there. So frustrating to be there and to try and connect with the coaching staff. It was really tough because you cannot show your emotion.

“Really frustrated and really disappointed, also with the performance. We were never connected with the game. Even when we scored, it was a moment to go but the team was never with the right energy to go and compete.

“Both disappointed and angry. It’s normal to blame yourself when this type of performance happens and we need to blame ourselves.”

After a threat of cancelling their two days off, Chelsea’s players returned to Cobham on Tuesday morning to begin preparations ahead of facing Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

It’s been an honest week for the Chelsea squad, including Pochettino and his coaching staff, at their Cobham training ground.

Pochettino offered an insight into the ‘really tough’ week, but was full of praise for everyone for the application, reaction and mood within the camp. He will be hoping to be as complimentary when he next faces the media, at full-time of Sunday’s match against Brighton.

Tough training sessions and meetings

Pochettino told reporters: “To clarify the things, to realise what happened. I think it was a tough week for everyone. I am very happy because I think they react very well. Even after you watch the game, I think it was worse, my feelings after the game. I was tough with them inside and outside.

“But it’s to blame ourselves also because I think maybe our approach was wrong and that is to take the responsibility, too. I think it was a good week to realise things we need to improve. We need to be more consistent, more mature. There are things we cannot afford in this process.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“Yes, I am very, very happy so far. Even though it was really, really tough in training and in meetings. But sometimes this type of situation helps a lot to improve.”

Reece James’ reaction after Newcastle United red card

The Chelsea captain quickly took to Instagram after the defeat to apologise for his sending off, which now sees him unavailable to face Brighton.

Pochettino confirmed words have been had with the full-back. James’ reaction has been positive, like the rest of the group, and hopes the dismissal can be a learning curve for the new skipper.

“Yes, of course (I’ve had a word with him),” replied Pochettino. “It’s part of the process also. Too many times he was injured but now step by step, he is building. I think he was a little bit tired in the moment when he got the second yellow card. And of course, he realises he is still far away from his best condition, to complete 90 minutes. He is working really hard.

“He feels sorry about the situation because it was tough for him and it was tough for the team. But it is always good when the player takes responsibility. He is doing really well. It’s a thing that can happen in football. It’s good when you realise because then you can learn for the future.”