Mauricio Pochettino calls for support from Chelsea fans: ‘They need to trust me to manage’


Mauricio Pochettino says Chelsea’s supporters “need to trust me to manage”, as he showed his support for Raheem Sterling who was booed in their 4-2 FA Cup quarter-final victory against Leicester City.

Sterling, 29, missed a penalty and a one-on-one opportunity the first half. A loud ring of boos followed in the second period after he blazed a free-kick over the bar, with the scoreline at 2-2.

Supporters also voiced their feelings towards Pochettino when Chelsea’s head coach decided to replace Mykhailo Mudryk for Carney Chukwuemeka, with boos heard. Two minutes later, the 52-year-old took Sterling off for Noni Madueke.

Although Pochettino recognised that fans are entitled to their opinions, he called on Chelsea’s support to back his side, saying “we are in a project”.

He said to BBC Sport: “We need to support him (Sterling), he’s an amazing player. He has more than 10 years experience in the Premier League. Of course I think the contribution was good. He was a little bit unlucky with some actions where he should have scored. But we are a team and we need to be there for everyone.

“Fans are entitled to show their emotion. For us we try to emphasise with our fans not to criticise. They want the best for our team and players. But we are in a project. We need support and to really believe. We are trying to build something.

“We are in a process to build the team. I know really well how to manage. What the fans want is to win the game and that we achieved. What the fans want is to go to Wembley and that we achieved. They need to trust me to manage in the way I think is the best way for the club.

“We need to respect their opinion as much as they need to respect my decision.”

Speaking about Sterling taking the penalty instead of Cole Palmer, Pochettino added in his post-match press conference: “You know very well that it’s Cole (who takes the penalties), but Cole gave the ball to Raheem. They have a very good relationship, they both came from Manchester City, and when Raheem asked for the ball to take the penalty Cole gave him the ball.

“That is not a problem. Cole can miss, Raheem can miss. The decision is there and of course I’m always going to support the decision of my players on the pitch. That is about growing and maturing, and I’m always happy with their decision.”

Substitutes Chukwuemeka and Madueke scored two late goals in stoppage time to help secure the victory for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s win means they will return to Wembley again this season, having lost to Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final in February.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Pochettino to support Sterling after England omission

(Alex Pantling/Getty Images)





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