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Mauricio Pochettino issues pre-season demand to Chelsea squad despite five-goal Wrexham win



Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino was satisfied with his first game in charge but still wants to see more as they continue preparations for the 2023/24 campaign.

They claimed a 5-0 win over newly-promoted League Two side Wrexham at the Kenan Memorial Stadium in North Carolina on Wednesday night, with Ian Maatsen (2), Conor Gallagher, Christopher Nkunku and Ben Chilwell all getting on the scoresheet.

Pochettino made six changes at the half-time interval after giving the likes of Nicolas Jackson, Andrey Santos, Cesare Casadei and Malo Gusto starts. Nkunku came on at the break and got on the scoresheet in the 90th minute after rounding the goalkeeper to fire into the empty net.

The win, clean sheet, performance and attitude of the squad left Pochettino happy with the outings in the first match of five pre-season fixtures in the United States. However, the 51-year-old insists further improvement, which is natural, is still needed before they hit the maximum.

“Like always a pre-season game, happy because of the attitude,” Pochettino said post-match in Chapel Hill. “Of course it is time to improve. I think it is part of the process in this period to learn in the way we want to play and of course build the physical condition also. I am happy with the performance.”

Pochettino took a 29-man squad with him out to America. Reece James is set to make it 30 when he joins up with the team following illness.

The Chelsea head coach has acknowledged that there is a significant number of options that need assessing before decisions are made over who will be part of the first-team squad for 2023-24.

He added: “There are too many players. We need to assess and analyse and see what happens with them in the season. Many decisions that we need to take.

“But it is good to have the opportunity to see all these young guys who can show their quality. It is important for them and for us to have a real assessment.

“For sure all have quality, they need time and space to show they can compete for a place in the squad.”