“It was our worst game of the season” – Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino delivers damning verdict on Newcastle loss
Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has slammed his team’s performance in their defeat to Newcastle United.
The Blues visited St. James’ Park for a Premier League encounter on Saturday, November 25, with renewed optimism. Pochettino’s side had drawn 4-4 with Manchester City and beaten Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 prior to the international break.
However, questions were raised over their defense after both games, and their backline came completely undone against the Magpies, who romped to a 4-1 win. Chelsea also ended the game with 10 men after captain Reece James was sent off in the 73rd minute for a second bookable offense.
Speaking after the game to Premier League Productions after the game, Pochettino ranked it as his side’s worst performance of the season so far. The Argentine, who was suspended for this game and had to watch on from the directors’ box, said (as quoted by CaughtOffside):
‘‘It was our worst game of the season. It was tough to be in the stands. We did not play how we should play, we showed a lack of intensity and energy.”
He went on to add (via the BBC):
‘‘We cannot complain about the result, we did not read the game from the beginning. We cannot blame the players, it is the team together. We need to understand the level we need to compete, and learn about this situation.
‘‘We didn’t show that we were playing for something important.”
The result meant 10th-placed Chelsea missed the chance to move within a point of Newcastle, who are now instead four points clear in sixth place. The London giants could be as many as 13 points behind fourth place in the Premier League if Tottenham Hotspur defeat Aston Villa on Sunday, November 26.
Chelsea left to rue errors as Newcastle score thrice in second half
Chelsea and Newcastle United largely seemed to cancel each other out in an entertaining first half on Saturday.
While the hosts controlled possession (56% to 44%), the Blues got three more shots on target than their opponents (four to one from six shots each). Magpies goalkeeper Nick Pope made a splendid save to deny Enzo Fernandez on one end, while Kieran Trippier hit the crossbar with a free-kick on the other.
The teams eventually went into half-time at 1-1, with Raheem Sterling’s stunning 23rd-minute free-kick canceling out Alexander Isak’s opener 10 minutes earlier. However, the visitors’ error-filled second-half display handed Newcastle the initiative.
Some poor marking allowed Jamaal Lascelles to head home the go-ahead goal for Newcastle in the 60th minute. Just a minute later, Thiago Silva gave the ball away to Joelinton near the edge of his own box, giving the latter a clear path to goal. He latched onto it and lashed it past Robert Sanchez to make it 3-1.
Reece James, who was booked for kicking the ball away 10 minutes after the break, then gave the ball away to Anthony Gordon before hauling him down. This led to him receiving his second yellow card and subsequent marching orders in the 73rd minute.
Ten minutes later, Gordon beat the offside trap to get past Chelsea’s defense before finding the bottom corner to complete the rout.