Chelsea boss defends form of £100m Caicedo after ’emotional situation’

Mauricio Pochettino and Moises Caicedo
Mauricio Pochettino and Moises Caicedo.

Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino has defended £100m midfielder Moises Caicedo ahead of a clash with his former club Brighton.

The Ecuadorean has been underwhelming since his move to Stamford Bridge late in the transfer window following a summer-long saga that featured interest from Liverpool before he finally joined the Blues.

Caicedo is our player to watch this weekend as he faces his old club amid criticism of his form.

“I think it’s a process. The temptation is to analyse and compare a player from one season to another when it’s not fair. It’s a different environment, different moment, how the situation is now,” said Pochettino.

“He arrived when we were already playing games in the Premier League, with no pre-season. It’s an emotional situation that happened with him. Then he got injured with his national team and has had no time to rest or recover.

“Now we have a couple of months for players to rest and play and to be focussed on Chelsea. It’s unfair to compare players from one season to another.”

Pochettino was clearly not happy with any of his players after the 4-1 thrashing by Newcastle United last weekend.

“We need to clarify things, realise what happened. I think it was a tough week for everyone. I am very happy because [the players] reacted very well. I was tougher with them inside [the changing room] and outside.

“We have to blame ourselves also. Maybe our approach was wrong and we take the responsibility. We took the week to realise things that we need to improve, to be more consistent, more mature.

“I am very very happy so far. It was really, really tough in training and meetings but sometimes, these types of situations help us to improve.

“They know very well how my mood was. I am not here acting. If I’m feeling happy, I’m happy. If I’m not happy, I’m not happy – it’s the same with the players.

“I think we let down the club because it was our responsibility as a team. Everyone works together. It’s always about putting the context in the situation and it’s important the players see the coaches in a natural way.

“Of course we were tough in our analysis – it’s about telling the truth, to show the things we didn’t do, but it’s not to blame them.

“We’re a young team – sometimes we have to be tougher, sometimes we have to learn and sometimes we need to be nice and choose how we will express ourselves. We know we need to perform and to perform well to recover the points.”