After suffering his first defeat as Chelsea head coach, Mauricio Pochettino insists he has still been pleased with his team’s performance and attitude in the opening two games of the season, leaving him certain it is only a matter of time before the results begin to follow.
The Blues were on top for much of the game at West Ham United and enjoyed large spells of possession in the opposition's half, but were unable to convert that into points as goals at the start of each half and a late penalty condemned us to a 3-1 loss. Although we did get a point last week, it was a similar story as we looked the better team, but couldn’t get the win we deserved in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
However, Pochettino believes that if we maintain these levels then the results will come as his young squad begins to gel, and would rather be performing well without the points to show for it than the opposite at this early stage of the season.
‘It’s a concern that the results haven’t followed the performance,’ admitted Pochettino. ‘But if we played bad but won the games I think we should be more worried because then it’s only time until you start to lose games and then you need to find a way to perform.
‘I prefer to start in this way, showing good performance, good attitude, because we dominated Liverpool and West Ham. I think the attitude is there, to get in the final third 50 times today shows the attitude is good and against Liverpool it was the same. That is the base for the future, with the quality we have in the squad it is only time until we start to find the best balance and we start to score goals and win games.’
Our head coach also pointed to some key moments that went against us to make our job harder, while giving West Ham’s confidence a boost. Indeed, if Enzo Fernandez had not been denied from the penalty spot by Alphonse Areola shortly before half-time, which could have sent us in at the break with a lead after Carney Chukwuemeka had equalised, he points out things could have gone very differently.
That is in addition to what he feels was a slow start by his team to each half, resulting in us having to attempt to come from behind for much of the match, which was his main disappointment from the trip to the London Stadium.
‘I was a little bit upset about the start of the game because we conceded a few situations that we were aware of the dangers of West Ham and we gave them the possibility to score. From the beginning also of the second half we started late, trying to find the way to play after changing Carney for Mikhaylo and they found the second goal and that helped West Ham really believe in the result.
‘For us it was about situations that we rushed too much. We need to be more patient and to really open the pitch. But when we see the data, I think in the last third we had maybe 50 entries which was amazing, but we were not clinical enough to score for different reasons.
'So I’m disappointed but that is the process. We need to accept the defeat and we need to keep working. For sure when things are more settled in the team we are going to perform and then we are going to win games.
‘If we had scored the penalty that we missed and went to half-time at 2-1, maybe we are not talking about a different game, but we are talking about a different situation. That is football and we have to accept that, sometimes it happens, and more in the beginning of the season, because there are still things to improve. But it is not an excuse.
‘I said it after Liverpool and it is still the same, we are really excited about the squad we are building. It is a defeat that is only going to make us stronger so we are able to perform better in the next games. Now we need to move on, there were many positive things. Not the result, but we will work really hard to win on Friday and get the performance that we want to.’