Chelsea maturity questioned by head coach Mauricio Pochettino after Sheffield United draw | Football News

Mauricio Pochettino says Chelsea are “not mature enough” to compete every three days.

Chelsea failed to build on Thursday’s momentous stoppage-time comeback win over Manchester United at Sheffield United as Oli McBurnie scored late to salvage a point in a 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane.

Pochettino’s side, who missed the chance to go three points off sixth-placed United, have now dropped points against the Premier League’s two bottom teams in the space of three games.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Chelsea

Asked to explain the draws against Sheffield United and Burnley, Pochettino said: “It is about being able to compete. For different reasons we are struggling to compete in these type of games [against lesser teams].”

Pochettino refused to accept fatigue as an excuse for Chelsea’s failure to claim their first back-to-back league wins of 2024, adding: “Watching football at 52 years old, you identify very quick when the team is ready to compete.

“Maybe [it is] because this group is not mature enough to compete in games every three days.”

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Sky Sports’ Tim Thornton says Chelsea will be disappointed they were unable to build upon their recent victory against Manchester United.

Chelsea have spent more than £1bn in four transfer windows since being taken over by Clearlake Capital, with reports claiming their latest splurge was restricted only to players 25 and under as part of a wider strategy.

That has left Pochettino, the third permanent manager under this ownership, with one of the youngest squads in Europe. He says this explains the stop-start form and called for further investment this summer to address their issues.

Chelsea's head coach Mauricio Pochettino ahead the English Premier League soccer match between Sheffield United and Chelsea at Bramall Lane stadium in Sheffield, England, Sunday, April 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Pochettino has been left scratching his head looking for ways to bring consistency to Chelsea

“It is a new team with profiles in the squad that we are learning,” said the Chelsea boss. “That is why the process to build a team always takes time. It is not a magic thing [clicks fingers].

“When we talk about projects, we talk about three or five years. It is a normal process but we are working to fix this type of problem.

“When we arrive at the end of the season, we need to analyse the squad to see what we are missing and try to add people with the capacity to provide [solutions for] what we are seeing today.”

Analysis: Chelsea’s momentum short-lived

Chelsea dropped points at Sheffield United
Chelsea have dropped points at Sheffield United and Burnley in the space of three games

Sky Sports’ Zinny Boswell:

There was always going to be a close eye on Chelsea’s response to their miraculous win over Manchester United. It was suggested the victory would be the turning point for the Mauricio Pochettino era. The trip to Bramall Lane suggested otherwise.

It was a case of one step forward, two steps back. For the second time in a week, Chelsea dropped points to a team in the bottom three. They couldn’t beat a 10-player Burnley last weekend and Sheffield United weren’t far from taking all three points on Sunday.

Pochettino pulled no punches in his post-match press conference, which paints a picture of the frustration he endured watching his team toil against the Premier League’s worst side after 31 games. Already he is turning his attention to his summer targets.

For a team still well in the fight for a Europa League place, an outcome that felt nigh-on impossible not long ago, it felt odd for a manager to be talking about the transfer window. Chelsea’s momentum of a few days ago has been short-lived.

Pochettino also spoke about the work that’s been put in to find solutions with the players he has, but it seems he thinks there is only so much more he can do with the options at his disposal. That may raise eyebrows considering the money spent.

The next step for Pochettino’s Chelsea will be interesting to watch unfold. Profitability and Sustainability Rules could well see them have to sell captain Conor Gallagher, one of their success stories this season, to pay off the big bills they have run up under Todd Boehly.

Chelsea’s journey back to the top is anything but guaranteed.

Opta stats from Chelsea’s frustrating trip to Sheff Utd

  • Chelsea have drawn three successive away games in the Premier League for the first time since September 2000. Meanwhile, the Blues have conceded 27 away goals in the top-flight this term, their most after 15 away games of a league season since 1990-91 (32 goals).

  • Sheffield United have conceded 47 Premier League goals at Bramall Lane this season, the most ever at home by a side in a campaign in the competition. It’s the most by an English top-flight club on home soil in a season since 1960-61 (Chelsea 48, Newcastle 49).

  • Thiago Silva (39y 198d) became the third-oldest player to score away from home in the Premier League, after Teddy Sheringham (39y 343d) and Dean Windass (39y 235d). Silva is also only the second player to score three or more goals in a single season in the competition while aged 39 or older, after Teddy Sheringham in 2005-06 (six).

  • Chelsea’s Cole Palmer has been directly involved in 25 goals across just 27 appearances in the Premier League this season (16 goals, 9 assists). Furthermore, he has been involved in 12 goals in his last 12 away games in the competition (5 goals, 7 assists).

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