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Mauricio Pochettino offers updated verdict on Chelsea’s chances of Champions League qualification



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Mauricio Pochettino has told his Chelsea squad to keep believing Champions League qualification is achievable despite their slow start to the season.

Chelsea are currently in 10th place in the Premier League after a 4-1 defeat to Newcastle United and they face Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday afternoon at Stamford Bridge.

Roberto De Zerbi’s side are seven games unbeaten. However, Brighton’s recent record doesn’t concern Pochettino despite his praise of the Seagulls, insisting Chelsea are the cause of their own problems.

“We are our own worst enemies,” insisted Pochettino on Friday. “We need to focus on us. The problem is not going to be Brighton. In this process, we need to pay more attention to ourselves than the opponent.”

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Chelsea are six points off Brighton in the table and 12 points adrift of Aston Villa who occupy fourth place in the Premier League.

Pochettino’s side are hungry to return to the European stage next season after missing out entirely this campaign. The Chelsea boss knows it’s going to be tough and will not put his focus on the end of the season, but wants it to remain a target for as long as it’s possible.

‘If it’s mathematic (possible) we have to believe it’s realistic,” responded Pochettino to Chelsea’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. “It is going to be tough to achieve the places to play in the competition.

“But still it’s about learning and the thing right now is not to see the end of the season, it is to see the process and improve every day. That is the most difficult thing – to focus on today and not tomorrow.

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“That is one of the aspects we were working on this week to improve ourselves and to try to provide the team what it needs. That is the process we need to be focused on. We cannot think about the end of the season because then we will stop what will bring us there.

“We need to focus on the present and how we can improve our condition and possibility to be better every day.”