Mauricio Pochettino and his Chelsea players regrouped at a wet and windy Cobham this morning to begin their preparations for the visit of Aston Villa on Sunday.
The first-team squad was afforded Monday off to recover from our frustrating 0-0 draw against Bournemouth. We created several chances at the Vitality Stadium but returned to West London without a victory to show for our efforts.
''I think we deserved more,' said Pochettino after the stalemate on the south coast. 'In the first 30 minutes, we deserved to score, we created many chances. But when you don't score, the belief of the opponent increases.
'We need more calm in front of goal, more patience. It's normal though with the circumstances. Everyone is talking about scoring and sometimes we rush in our decisions. I have no doubt, though, that we will succeed and we will start to score goals.'
What didn't help our ambition to return from Bournemouth with all three points was our absentee list. Twelve players missed the game due to injury and illness but there was a welcome sight as both Marc Cucurella and Noni Madueke trained this morning.
Madueke, who has made three appearances this season and scored once, is the only player in the squad who had worked with Pochettino prior to his arrival at Chelsea this summer.
And he has spoken about the demands placed upon the players by the Argentine coach. ‘He’s tough with me, but I probably need that,’ said the England Under-21 international.
‘He’s transparent as well which is really important, to know where you stand and what he expects from you. He knows when to be really tough with me and when to put an arm around me. I can’t fault him.'
The absentees against Bournemouth provided an opportunity for summer signing Lesley Ugochukwu to start his first Premier League game. The 19-year-old completed 90 minutes on Sunday and earned praise for his display.
'That is one of the positive things, a first start for him,’ explained Pochettino after the stalemate. ‘He is really young and to compete at this level [the Premier League] is always difficult. But I think his performance was good.'
Also involved in this morning's session was Armando Broja. The striker has been ruled out since last December after suffering a knee ligament injury in a friendly against Sunday's opponents Aston Villa.
The 22-year-old is now in the reconditioning phase of his recovery and was part of the group that took to the windswept training pitches at Cobham.