Mauricio Pochettino has explained why he remains full of belief in the eventual success of the current Chelsea side and has insisted we need to evaluate our progress fairly and honestly.

Our pursuit of silverware in 2023/24 continues this evening as we host Leeds United in the fifth round of the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge.

Following our painful extra-time defeat in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, this competition presents the Blues with another opportunity to lift a trophy this term and, in turn, secure European football for next season.

Both remain among Pochettino’s aims for this season. ‘Of course, we wanted to win the Carabao Cup, like we want to win the FA Cup, we want to win the Premier League, we want to win every competition,’ he said.

‘That is always the objective at the start of the season, but now the reality is to see if we can qualify to play in Europe next season. It is going to be tough, because of the circumstances and because of the reality.

‘Our responsibility is always to match expectations, but the problem is when expectations and reality are not close. When they are close it is easy. We are working hard so that people trust in us, but we need to be patient because we are building in a different way to succeed and always it is about time.

‘The owners arrived with the right intention and they want to build something different from the past, which we need to understand. We are part of this and want to move this project forward. We have ups and downs, but it is only the beginning.'

Pochettino also outlined his view that comparisons between his current squad and those of Chelsea's past are – and have been – unfair, especially given the age and experience of his players.

‘From the beginning, we have been talking about Jackson needing to score goals, which is okay, but you cannot compare Jackson now with Didier Drogba. Drogba was one of the best strikers in the world and it’s difficult to build another Drogba.

‘Even when people say Enzo played in a World Cup final, it’s important to remember that he started that competition as a young guy on the bench.

'The focus was on Messi and other players and he was playing free, but now he is the focus and people are saying he needs to win the game. For him it is the first time feeling he is the main guy and that is about learning.

‘Part of my responsibility is to make sure people get the reality, our truth. To try to explain it to them from the inside, not from people who don’t know what is happening here. I think it is unfair to focus on those things or make those comparisons, but I accept everyone’s opinion.’

Giving his own honest assessment, Pochettino insists he is as confident as ever about the Blues’ future and explained why he has such faith in the project he is developing at the Bridge.

‘I have good people next to me – my coaching staff, the staff of the club. After eight months we have built a very good bond between us and the players really believe in the way that we are working.

'It takes time, we have to be honest, but now we see the satisfaction of the players to say this is the new way. Now the problem is we need time to win games.

‘These players have the quality and the capacity to play and deal with this pressure, but then you need to build a team. With time for sure we will succeed, even if today is painful, because we are really brave.’