Mauricio Pochettino warns his players that the Chelsea badge counts for nothing against Middlesbrough and insists they must be on top form to avoid shock in the Carabao Cup
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Mauricio Pochettino warns his players that the Chelsea badge counts for nothing against Middlesbrough and insists they must be on top form to avoid shock in the Carabao Cup

Jan 15, 2024
  • Pochettino said Chelsea must be humble and think about their current ‘reality’
  • If they don’t they could be in for a shock against Middlesbrough on Tuesday
  • Kai Havertz is SHACKLED as Arsenal’s No 9, the weight of that shirt is too much – It’s All Kicking Off 

Mauricio Pochettino has warned Chelsea to be humble and think about their current ‘reality’ — not the club’s history and badge — or they could be in for a shock against Middlesbrough on Tuesday.

In an unfortunate slip of the tongue that even he had to laugh at, Pochettino spoke about Chelsea preparing for a two-legged semi-final that will be ‘180 million’ rather than minutes.

Money is never far from the conversation around Chelsea and the gap in resources between the Blues and Championship Boro is one reason why the Londoners are big favourites to reach the Carabao Cup final.

But when that was put to Pochettino, he said: ‘Because it is Chelsea’s history or Chelsea in the last six months? We need to be very respectful and not underestimate any opponent. Even if Middlesbrough are in another division, we need to take it like it’s the best team in the world.

‘People can think Chelsea is Chelsea. No. We are in the middle of the table, not competing in the Champions League or Europa League. That is our reality.

Mauricio Pochettino has warned Chelsea to be humble and think about their current 'reality'

Mauricio Pochettino has warned Chelsea to be humble and think about their current ‘reality’

He said if they don't they could be in for a shock against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night

He said if they don’t they could be in for a shock against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night

‘People can think, ok it’s Chelsea, but that translates to the team and if we believe that we are Chelsea and we are going to win because of this badge, I think we are going to be really wrong.

‘We need to be humble enough to realise that, go there and say we need to chase them, be aggressive, all together, match their desire. In that case maybe we will have the opportunity to win.’

Chelsea’s FA Cup tie against Preston on Saturday was initially a struggle and a timely warm-up before facing more Championship opposition in Michael Carrick’s side.

Pochettino watched Barcelona and Real Madrid survive Spanish Cup scares over the weekend.

And he learned a valuable early lesson about the importance of the domestic cups while at Southampton when he was accused of disrespecting the FA Cup by naming a weakened team and handing some media duties to his No 2 Jesus Perez for a fifth-round defeat at Sunderland. 

He also recalled the Carabao Cup semi-final difficulties his Tottenham side had against League One Sheffield United before they eventually went through in 2015.

Pochettino watched Barcelona and Real Madrid survive Spanish Cup scares over the weekend

Pochettino watched Barcelona and Real Madrid survive Spanish Cup scares over the weekend

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Pochettino said: ‘In this type of competition, the Carabao Cup or the FA Cup, always it is the beauty of the cup.

‘Maybe the team that nobody believes can perform is performing because they have the energy and desire to play against a side like Chelsea. You can always increase your level.

‘We need to perform in the best way if we want to reach the final.

‘This is the most important game and we need to come back with a victory and after that finish the tie at Stamford Bridge.’

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