After seeing his Chelsea side reduced to 10 men in a 1-0 Premier League defeat to Aston Villa, Mauricio Pochettino felt his team have every reason to consider themselves unlucky, but also knows the young team needs to start showing more maturity.
For the first hour of the game it was very much a case of Chelsea being on top, although both goalkeepers Robert Sanchez and Emiliano Martinez produced impressive saves to keep the scores level.
However, things turned on a red card for right-back Malo Gusto, when VAR intervened after referee Jarred Gillett initially deemed the challenge only worthy of a yellow, given the Frenchman won the ball before catching Lucas Digne with the follow-through.
That allowed Aston Villa to use their numerical advantage to take the lead and hold it. Speaking after the final whistle, it was initially the disproportionate number of opportunities the two sides crafted out, before and after the sending off, which Mauricio Pochettino chose to focus on though.
'In the first half I think we deserved a little bit more,' said Pochettino. 'We had the control of the game. Then in the second half we started on top of them but then with the red card the game changed. For 60 minutes with 11 against 11 and then the rest with 10 men, it’s two different games.
'It was a little bit unlucky. How many chances did we have like that one for Aston Villa? We blocked the shot and then the shot comes back and the second one hits the post and goes in. For us, how many times were we one-against-one with Emi Martinez. That was a little bit unlucky also, but that happened.
'In this situation we need to accept the reality, but it was a little bit unlucky because of how many chances they created, when you take off the set-pieces. It wasn’t many. With 10 men we were forcing them to go back and we created chances. That is the situation.
'We need to be aware about what is going on but at the same time we need to be calm because the team is creating, the team is alive, the team is fighting in every single action. We cannot say that the players gave up after 70 minutes, they were fighting until the end with one player less. It’s just about working and hopefully we can change the situation as soon as possible.'
Our head coach refused to point fingers over Malo Gusto's red card...
'It was in front of me but I didn’t see it, so I cannot say it wasn’t a red card. We need to trust the referee and the VAR and we cannot go back and change the decision, we need to accept that.
'It’s the player’s responsibility, we cannot blame the referee or the VAR. In this situation we need to act in a different way. I’m not going to blame or say anything against Malo Gusto, because sometimes these situations happen in football, but of course the situation affected the team and the game in a negative way.'
Pochettino was disappointed to see Nicolas Jackson pick up his fifth booking in the Premier League, resulting in a one-game ban...
'We need to grow up, as a team, not only as individuals. Nicolas is so young and he’s still feeling the Premier League. He’s learning, I think he needs time.
'In this type of game, we are competing and want to win, and football is hard to win. But also players when they are young need to learn with experience and make mistakes.
'That is why I am disappointed, because I think we are having too many situations like this. They are small details, but small details can end in you losing the game and now we are in a situation that we need to change as soon as possible.'
On Armando Broja's return from long-term injury as a substitute today...
'It was good to see Broja again after nine or 10 months. Also I think because it gives us the possibility to have different options, and those possibilities are good for the team. But he needs to build his confidence also.
'It’s about learning, it’s all the process. We are a young team in a process that they need to learn all together. It’s difficult to talk about positives when you lose, but we need to talk about positive things, we need to keep the positive things.
'No doubt in time I think the team is going to perform, but of course now we cannot hide the situation. It’s a situation that hurts all the fans, the club, us and the players.'